Name: Daniel Vogelbach, 1B
Age: 22 (12/17/1992)
How acquired:Drafted in 2nd round 2011, # 68 overall, out of Bishop Verot High School, FL. Scouted by Lukas McKnight.
Daytona Cubs, Florida State League, High A (132 G, .268/.357/.429, 16 HR, 76 RBI)
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 schoolers 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 could 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.
Lots of talk about the amount of weight Vogelbach lost during the off-season as he came to spring training several pounds lighter and in the “best shape of his life.” With an emphasis on improving his defense, Vogelbach returned to his home state and a full season in the Florida State League. He solid year at the plate, hitting .268/.357/.429 in 560 plate appearances. Compared to his stats at Kane County, his defense numbers improved with a .995 fielding percentage in close to 1,000 chances. Vogelbach’s batting average in the FLS was almost a perfect bell curve as he started off hitting around .255 the first two months, spiked to .319 for June, and then tailed off as the season ended, batting just .238 over his final 28 games. He continued to display his power with 16 homers and led the D-Cubs in several offensive categories including 207 total bases. After reaching a career-high in games, the Cubs got Vogelbach even more work in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .261/.398/.319 in 21 games.
Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, 2015 will be an important season for Vogelbach. Rule 5 eligible at the end of the year, he becomes a prime trade candidate for many reasons and tests his bat against AA pitching. A fan favorite of those that follow the Cubs minors, Vogelbach has seen his stock (rankings) fall the past two years as the Cubs have added talent to the minors. That’s done nothing to change Vogelbach’s approach as he remains one of the best pure hitters in the Cubs organization. The ability to take any pitch out of the park and drive the ball the other way are two of his better qualities, but he grinds out at-bats, works counts, and has a great eye for the strike zone. His defense has come under fire but he continues to show progress, and understands the need to contribute with the glove. He’s still just 22 so I’m not saying this is a make-or-break season, but it will go a long way in determining his future, and a big year could force the Cubs to add him to the 40-man roster.