Daniel Vogelbach has had very limited playing time over the course of three MLB seasons with the Seattle Mariners. Since he’s out of minor league options, the 26-year old is going to have a lot of playing time between first and designated hitter this season.
Last season was the first time we’ve seen Vogelbach get a real peek at the major league level; the M’s gave him 102 plate appearances before sending him back down, his previous career high was 31 in 2017. Even if you combine all of the plate appearances from his first three partial seasons, Vogey doesn’t have enough plate appearances to lose the rookie tag. There isn’t enough information for the us to determine what we can expect from him at the major league level.
What we do know about him at the major league level is that so far he’s been worth -0.5 fWAR while hitting .197/.301/.315 with a 78 wRC+ in 146 plate appearances. We also know that he’s one strong son of bitch, and that makes it really fun to watch him destroy baseballs.
There is reason to be optimistic that he’s going to be a good hitter in the majors as Vogey has absolutely lit up Triple A pitching. Last season with the Rainers he hit .290/.434/.545 with a wRC+ of 157 in 378 plate appearances. Since coming over to Seattle’s system in 2016, Vogelbach has had a wRC+ of 127 (2016), 122 (2017), and 157 (2018) while playing in Tacoma. And each season he’s had a high walk rate that gives you reason to be optimistic about his plate discipline.
Vogelbach has done an incredible job of laying off of pitches outside of the strike zone at the major league level — he’s only swinging at 21.6% of them.
His incredible plate discipline is what gives me optimism for Vogey’s future in the major leagues. Because he doesn’t swing at pitches outside of the zone, pitchers are going to have to throw more inside it to him. If he can improve on his pitch selection and contact rate, then he’ll be a truly dangerous hitter.
Which is exactly what the Mariners need at designated hitter.