This season, the folks here at Sodo Mojo our bringing you a weekly “round table” where we discuss the latest Mariners questions! In week 1, we toss around a few Spring Training questions, and begin to look ahead to March 29 and beyond.
Question 1: Which player has improved his stock the most in Spring Training 2018?
Ty Gonzales: Dan Vogelbach, clearly. His numbers are fantastic, but what I’m most impressed with is his plate discipline. He has walked a ton and is working counts in his favor on a consistent basis. I’m also pretty impressed with his defense. He’s made a couple of really nice plays down the line.
Colton Swanson: Colby. You already know my answer. He’s my man. Dan Vogelbach has had a monster spring at the plate and has even shown improved instincts In the field and on the base paths. With Healy out, Vogelbach has made a case for himself to be the Opening Day first baseman after swinging the hottest bat of the Spring for the Mariners.
He has always had a good eye at the plate but he has ended up on another level this spring, with an OBP north of .500. He seemed like he would always be the odd man out after the last few years but after what he has done this spring, Vogey can no longer be ignored.
Dan Clark: For me I think a few of the young guys have improved their stock over the spring. Rob Whalen for me has been the most impressive. After taking leave last year to deal with depression and anxiety he has looked absolutely stellar.
Michael Johnson: Colton, this one’s for you. Dan Vogelbach gets my vote. In 33 at bats he’s having the best spring of his career. Vogey leads the team in doubles (5). He is tied for second on the team in hits (14) and home runs (2). He is tied for 4th in RBI (6). And the most impressive stat thus far is that he leads the team in walks (9) and has K’d (6) fewer times than 12 of his teammates.
Yes, the man who has 15 Ks and just 4 BB in his 40 major league at bats is showing incredible plate awareness this spring. There was talk that Vogelbach had reinvented himself a bit over the off-season and at this point it has shown. The loss of Ryon Healy right out of the gate was a pretty big gut punch, but as the spring has progressed Vogey has given us all a reason to exhale.
Jeff Nooney: Rob Whalen. Rob was almost out of baseball in 2017. He battled depression, and the Mariners gave him the time and help to help him as a human, not just a ball player. I think that helped him get his mental strength back, and he has dominated this spring.
Colby Patnode: There are several good choices, and this question is difficult to answer, which is actually a really good thing. I have been impressed with the defense of Dee Gordon. Marco Gonzales looks really good as well.
Of course, Vogelbach has the monstrous numbers. Whalen has been excellent as well. However, in the very spirit of the question, I must say Vogelbach is the winner. He has gone from an AAA DH, to trying to figure out how to fit him onto this roster in 3 weeks. Ultimately, he probably starts the year in AAA, but could easily hit his way to the big leagues early in 2018.