An Unlikely Champion for Daniel Vogelbach
April 16, 2018
Vogey is not my kind of player. He's slow, he bashes, he has to work hard not to be relegated to DH. And to me, someone who grew up a devotee of Whitey Herzog's St. Louis Cardinals of the 1980s, he represents the antithesis of cool. Cool was Vince Coleman and Willie McGee burning up the basepaths, Ozzie Smith turning cartwheels as well as double-plays, and Tommy Herr driving in 110 runs while hitting only eight homers. Huge lumbering sluggers that remind one more of Terry Forster than Tito Landrum? Not cool.
And yet, I'm a fan. Last year, when Vogelbach had been all but given the first-base job at the start of spring training, I rooted for him mostly because Danny Valencia inspired no confidence and it would be nice if we hadn't traded Mike Montgomery for nothing more than magic beans. But this year it's different—Vogey killed it in the spring, forced his way onto the roster, and has looked, quite surprisingly, like a better defender at first than Ryon Healy. I want him in the lineup.
Maybe it's an underdog kind of thing. Vogey wasn't expected to pan out after last year's disappointments, he was assumed to be so unreliable that GM Jerry Dipoto traded one of his most prized relievers for a different lumbering defensive question mark to play first. It's nice to see those kinds of guys succeed. But that's not the totality of it. There's something beyond his underdogness and his impressive over-the-café home run power that makes me root for the guy. I don't know what it is.
But here I am, champion of small ball and lithe basestealing Dee Gordons, wanting to see more of fireplug molasses runner Daniel Vogelbach. Go figure.