Daniel Vogelbach, 1B
2013 Team: Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, (A); Daytona Cubs, Florida State League, (A+)
Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—# 13
How acquired—Drafted in second round in 2011, # 68 overall
Prior to Cubs
Vogelbach led Bishop Verot HIgh School in Fort Myers to the Florida 3A State Championship his senior year and earned Florida 3A Player of the Year honors after hitting .467 with 19 homers and 54 RBI. Vogelbach was considered the top power hitting high schooler in the 2011 draft but his weight of 280 pounds discouraged some scouts. With a scholarship to the University of Florida, Vogelbach waited up until the deadline and the Cubs signed their-second round pick to a reported $1.6 million bonus.
Vogelbach got a taste of pro ball after signing, appearing in six games for Mesa in the Arizona Rookie League and blasted his first pro homer vs. Giants in his third game. After participating in his first spring training, Vogelbach stuck around in Mesa for extended spring training and started the season back in the Arizona Rookie League. He opened the season with a ten-game hitting steak (19-44 .432, 7 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBI). After a month in the desert he was promoted to Boise and took the Northwest League by storm, hitting .322/.423/.608 with 10 HR and 31 RBI in 37 games. He earned post-season honors in the Arizona Rookie League and was named a Topps Short-Season/Rookie All-Star. Vogelbach hit 17 homers between to the two levels with an impressive slash line of .322/.410/.641 in 61 games.
He proved he can hit with power and to all fields in his first full season, batting .284/.364/.450 with 17 HR and 71 RBI in 500 plate appearances at Class A Kane County, earning all-star honors. Vogelbach added 21 doubles and even swiped four bases. On defense at first, he logged 85 games with 54 assists and a fielding percentage of .986, making 11 errors. The 20-year-old earned a late season promotion to Daytona and was part of the D-Cubs FSL title team. He hit .280/.455/.440 in 17 games with 2 HR, 5 RBI and BB/K ratio of 16:13.
Vogelbach will start at Daytona as he hones his hitting skills and continues his development as a defensive first baseman. A "slimmer version" was the talk of Mesa when he arrived at spring training citing the grind of a full-season as one of the reasons to get in better shape. When I saw him at Kane County, you could tell he had dropped some weight since the Cubs drafted him but was still carrying some excess baggage. Vogelbach told Cubs.com Carrie Muskat in an interview this spring he knew he needed to get better at first base, lose weight and get more athletic—setting the goal the day after they won the FSL championship. It should be pointed out that Vogelbach watched the title run mostly from the dugout as the team's DH during the playoffs. He has a solid approach at the plate and despite the obvious power, uses the whole field and doesn't get cheated on many pitches. He does a good job getting his hands through the zone and making consistent contact. I'm interested to see how the new athletic Vogelbach plays in the Florida State League, especially his range and mobility on defense.