DAN VOGELBACH, FIRST BASEMAN
Born: December 17, 1992
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 270
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Drafted: 2nd Round, 68th Overall, 2011 (Cubs)
How Acquired: Free Agent
High School: Bishop Verot HS (Fort Myers, FL)
Agents: ISE Baseball

WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
The Cubs drafted Vogelbach as a guy with prodigious power but obvious limitations on defense and on the bases.  Probably due to the latter concerns, he moved only slowly through the Cubs’ system before reaching AAA and then getting traded to Seattle.  Even after that, he rarely got extended playing time in the majors.  Despite routinely appearing on his teams’ top prospect lists, he remained mired mostly in the minors until he was 26.  He’s very patient, drawing tons of walks, and in the minors didn’t have big swing-and-miss problems.  In the majors that’s caused him much more trouble.  In the minors he often produced only modest power and in the majors has struggled to hit at times.  In both the minors and majors, though, he’s had stretches when he’s been very productive.  It’s possible, but hardly certain, that he’s been hampered in the majors by a lack of consistent playing time.  Vogelbach struggles badly against LHPs, posting just a .511 OPS against them in the majors, and has trouble with breaking balls.  Defensively, he’s limited to first base, where he’s below average, and he has well below average speed.  The Pirates signed him as a free agent for 2022, with a team option for 2023.

2011
R:  290/370/542, 24 AB, 3 2B, 1 HR, 2 BB, 2 K, 1-1 SB

Vogelbach debuted just briefly.  Baseball America ranked him tenth in the Cubs’ system after the season.

2012
R:  324/391/686, 102 AB, 12 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 12 BB, 14 K, 1-1 SB
A-:  322/423/608, 143 AB, 9 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 23 BB, 34 K, 0-1 SB

For some reason, the Cubs sent Vogelbach back to rookie ball, later promoting him to the short season Northwest League.  He wasn’t challenged by the pitching at either level.  BA ranked him seventh in the system after the season.

2013
A:  284/364/450, 500 AB, 21 2B, 17 HR, 57 BB, 76 K, 4-8 SB
A+:   280/455/440, 50 AB, 2 2B, 2 HR, 16 BB, 13 K, 1-1 SB

Vogelbach spent most of the season in Low A and hit well, but didn’t put up the extreme numbers he had at lower levels.  His walk and K rates were  very good.  BA ranked him ninth in the Cubs’ system.

2014
A+:  268/357/430, 482 AB, 28 2B, 1 3B, 16 HR, 66 BB, 91 K, 4-8 SB

In High A, Vogelbach had another solid rather than outstanding season, although the pitching-dominated Florida State League probably depressed his numbers.  He again showed good plate discipline.  BA dropped him to 25th among Cubs’ prospects.

2015
R:  455/647/636, 11 AB, 2 2B, 6 BB, 1 K
AA:  272/403/425, 254 AB, 16 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 57 BB, 61 K, 1-2 SB

Vogelbach went to AA, although he missed close to half the season with hamstring and oblique injuries.  He showed more patience than ever, maybe too much, as his power was just middling.  BA again ranked him 25th and, after the season, the Cubs added him to the 40-man roster.

2016
AAA (ChC):  318/425/548, 305 AB, 18 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 55 BB, 67 K
AAA (Sea):  240/404/422, 154 AB, 7 2B, 7 HR, 42 BB, 34 K
MLB (Sea):  083/154/083, 11 AB, 1 BB, 6 K

In AAA, Vogelbach’s hitting picked up.  In late July, the Cubs sent him to Seattle, where he made a brief major league debut in September.  BA rated him tenth in the Mariner’s system.

2017
AAA:  290/388/455, 459 AB, 25 2B, 17 HR, 76 BB, 98 K, 3-4 SB
MLB:  214/290/250, 28 AB, 1 2B, 3 BB, 9 K

Vogelbach spent the season in AAA apart from two brief stints in the early season and a September callup.  He continued to hit as before, with good but not great power and a lot of walks.  BA ranked him 12th in the system.

2018
AAA:  290/434/546, 297 AB, 16 2B, 20 HR, 77 BB, 59 K, 0-1 SB
MLB:  207/324/368, 87 AB, 2 2B, 4 HR, 13 BB, 26 K

Seattle kept Vogelbach in the majors at the start of the season, but sent him to AAA in late April.  He made only a few brief appearances in Seattle after that, along with a September callup, and got only limited major league playing time when he was there.  He hit very well during his time in AAA.  BA ranked him 17th in the system after the season, his eighth appearance on a top 30 list.

2019
MLB:  208/341/439, 462 AB, 17 2B, 30 HR, 92 BB, 149 K

Vogelbach finally spent a season in the majors and had two very different halves.  In the first half, he hit 238/375/505 and made the All-Star team.  In the second half he slumped to 162/286/341.  He had a large platoon split, putting up an .844 OPS against RHPs but only .602 against LHPs.  He appeared 56 times at first and 81 as DH.  He continued to draw walks at a very high rate but also struck out in nearly a third of his ABs.

2020
MLB (Sea):  094/250/226, 53 AB, 1 2B, 2 HR, 11 BB, 13 K
MLB (Tor):  000/200/000, 4 AB, 1 BB, 2 K
MLB (Mil):  328/418/569, 58 AB, 2 2B, 4 HR, 8 BB, 18 K

In the pandemic season, Vogelbach got off to a very rough start.  In mid-August, the Mariners designated him for assignment and then sent him to Toronto for cash.  He got into just two games for the Blue Jays and was designated for assignment again.  The Brewers claimed him and he hit very well for them over the balance of the season.

2021
AAA:  313/477/500, 48 AB, 3 HR, 16 BB, 13 K
MLB:  219/349/381, 215 AB, 8 2B, 9 HR, 43 BB, 57 K

Vogelbach was the Brewer’s starting first baseman against RHPs, but he ended up missing most of second half with a hamstring injury.  When he played, he produced his lower-end mix of many walks, modest power and low average.  He did cut down on the swing-and-miss some.  Milwaukee did not tender him a contract and he became a free agent after the season.

With Yoshi Tsutsugo, Vogelbach gives the Pirates two lumbering, left-handed power hitters who are, or should be, limited to first.  One distinction is that Tsutsugo has had a slight reverse platoon split so far, while Vogelbach simply should not face LHPs.  At any rate, this arrangement is only viable due to the move to add the DH in the NL.  Vogelbach’s contract, with the option, covers two years, but he’s three years short of free agency.  Theoretically, the Pirates could decline the option and go to arbitration, but that’d be pretty odd.

CONTRACT INFORMATION
2022: $800,000

  • Possible $400,000 in incentives
  • $1,500,000 club option for 2023 with $200,000 buyout

2021: $1,400,000
2019: $558,600

PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $1,600,000
MiLB Debut: 2011
MLB Debut: 9/12/2016
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2025
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: November 20, 2015
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2016, 2017, 2018)
MLB Service Time: 3.138
TRANSACTIONS
June 7, 2011: Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 2nd round, 68th overall pick; signed on August 15.
November 20, 2015: Contract purchased by the Chicago Cubs.
July 20, 2016: Traded by the Chicago Cubs with Paul Blackburn to the Seattle Mariners for Mike Montgomery and Jordan Pries.
August 19, 2020: Designated for assignment by the Seattle Mariners.
August 24, 2020: Traded by the Seattle Mariners to the Toronto Blue Jays for cash considerations.
September 1, 2020: Designated for assignment by the Toronto Blue Jays.
September 3, 2020: Claimed off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays by the Milwaukee Brewers.
November 30, 2021: Became a free agent.
March 15, 2022: Signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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