Worth the Wait: Mariners Daniel Vogelbach, All-Star

CLEVELAND, OHIO - JULY 08: Daniel Vogelbach of the Seattle Mariners and the American League looks on during Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Progressive Field on July 08, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - JULY 08: Daniel Vogelbach of the Seattle Mariners and the American League looks on during Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Progressive Field on July 08, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Finally. The day that I have waited for for what seems like an eternity has finally come. Today is the day that Daniel “Cornelius” Vogelbach takes the field as an All-Star for the Seattle Mariners.

After years of listening to people say that he is a AAAA player and that he wasn’t good enough to play in the major leagues, in your face. But for real, its been a long and frustrating road for Daniel Vogelbach, so let’s see just how we reached this point.

Vogey was drafted in the second round of the 2011 MLB draft by the Chicago Cubs. As an 18-year-old, Vogey hit .292/.370/.542 in just six games, making his pro debut straight out of his high school in Florida. In his first full season within professional baseball, Vogelbach showed exactly what he was going to be in the future.

He hit .322/.410/.641 in 61 games. While Vogey didn’t seem like the most athletic person in the world, he was proving every day that he has the ability to play baseball at the highest level. In his minor league career with the Cubs, Vogelbach never had an OBP below .355. His ability to control the strike zone was incredible. The power was there as well, as Vogelbach hit over 50 home runs over just 5 seasons.

The Chicago Cubs had something special down in the minor leagues. The only problem was, they also had something special in the majors and his name was Anthony Rizzo. Vogelbach’s defense wasn’t helping his case either and it seemed he was destined to become a future DH.

Then, it happened. The greatest trade in the history of forever. The Seattle Mariners traded LHP Mike Montgomery to the Cubs in exchange for the power hitting first basemen. The Era of Vogey had begun in Seattle.

That trade came in around the trade deadline of 2016, shortly after Jerry Dipoto and co. took over and began pushing the “Control the Zone” mantra in Seattle. Who better to have as your poster child for your new motto than a guy who worked 239 walks over the last five years?

The Cubs won the World Series the following October with Montgomery on the mound but it didn’t take long for Vogelbach to prove that he belonged. In his first year with the Mariners, Vogey hit .290/.388/.455 in Tacoma. He hit 17 homers over 125 games. He had not yet reached his power potential but his ability to work the count was the real deal.

His big year led to him appearing in the AAA All-Star Game in Tacoma as well as the Home Run Derby where he placed second. Now, on the day of the Major League All Star Game, the same skills that led Vogey to the honor in the minors have propelled him to Cleveland in 2019. However, this wasn’t always the case with Vogelbach at the Major League Level. In fact, his first few opportunities led to a lot of skepticism throughout the Mariners fan base.

He hit .214/.290/.540 during his 2017 campaign where he accrued a mere 28 at-bats. Last season, again through limited at bats, Vogelbach hit .207/.324/.691 over 87 at-bats. It seemed that Vogelbach was destined to struggle in the Major Leagues but he wasn’t receiving the opportunities that he deserved due to a guy named Nelson Cruz, one of the best DHs in baseball over the last five years. At first base, the Mariners decided to use tandems such as Danny Valencia and Yonder Alonso or Ryon Healy instead, which didn’t lead to the best results. When Vogelbach was getting his seldom opportunities, he wasn’t able to make the most of it.

Enter 2019. Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion are both rostered along with Healy as well. It again seemed that Vogelbach was going to be the odd man out and this time he was out of minor league options. The Mariners kept him on the roster for the Japan series with Kyle Seager hurt. It wasn’t until the middle of April, with Bruce struggling, that Vogelbach finally got his shot and he ran with it.

In 2019, Vogelbach has hit .238/.375/.505 with 21 dingers and 51 RBI. He has a 2.1 fWAR over 277 at-bats and owns a wRC+ of 138 and walk percentage near 18%. His average has dipped due to his limited at bats versus lefties but with both Bruce and Encarnacion gone, Vogey should be playing on a daily basis. He has hit just .130 versus lefties while hitting .274 against right handed pitching. And 19 of his 21 homers have also come against righties, so it is clear that Vogelbach has some improvements to make against southpaws.

Nevertheless, today is a big day for us over at Sodo Mojo as well as it obviously is for Vogelbach. After plenty of doubts, Vogey has overcome them all to be the Mariners’ only All-Star in 2019. If you would have told most fans that that would be the case before the season, they would have called you insane. But Vogey has risen amongst all of the adversity and is playing to his full potential.

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While it would have been nice to see him in the HR Derby, today is a day all about Daniel Vogelbach for Mariners fans. After I escape the clutches of work this afternoon, I’ll head home and take in the fruits of our labor at the website. Daniel Vogelbach is an All-Star. We’ve known it for a while now, but after many years, everyone else is beginning to see it as well. I hope Vogey gets up there and does what he always does today. Works a 3-2 count and either smashes a baseball to the heavens or takes a walk. Go get ‘em, Vogey, we’re rooting for you.