Vogelbach was acquired in a trade from the Chicago Cubs that sent left-hander Mike Montgomery to the North Side in a deal near the 2016 trade deadline. Vogelbach fits the offensive profile general manager Jerry DiPoto has coveted throughout his tenure in Seattle – a player with an advanced approach at the plate and consistent ability to reach base (career .391 OBP in minors), but since joining the Mariners’ ranks, Vogelbach hasn’t made the impact many expected.
Vogelbach displays average bat speed with a level stroke and some over-the-fence pop that plays to the pull side. However, he has more gap-to-gap, doubles power than anything else. At times he will get out on his front foot and his hips leak open leaving him susceptible to good off-speed pitches, which he’s struggled with in a couple short stints with the big league club.
He competed for the first-base job in spring training, but was promptly sent back to Tacoma after seemingly pressing at the plate, and reaching outside of his usual patient approach, in addition to struggling against lefties which has continued in Tacoma this year (slashing .132/.195/.211 in 38 at-bats vs. lefties in 2017).
A knock to Vogelbach’s game has been his lack of athleticism and limited ability to man first base. Weighing in at 250 pounds, Vogelbach will need to drop considerable weight during the offseason to be effective defensively and improve his footwork around the base. However, he does have good makeup and if he sheds weight that should allow him to be a serviceable, average overall defender.
While Vogelbach has above-average contact skills and the ability to hit to all fields, there are concerns whether he can be a Role 50, average everyday first baseman, or whether he’ll top out as a Role 35 up-and-down/emergency call-up player. Improving on unfavorable splits against left-handed pitching, and proving he can hold down first base for an extended period of time are the keys from here.