At this time last year, Daniel Vogelbach was slashing .222/.351/.479 for a 122 wRC+. After years of bouncing between Seattle and Tacoma, Vogelbach looked like he had finally arrived. He was the Mariners’ lone representative in the All-Star Game, and he certainly earned his spot on the team.
Since then, however, Vogelbach has hit .124/.277/.248 for a 53 wRC+. He only has 7 extra base hits in 166 plate appearances since August 21, 2019. Vogelbach’s struggles were great enough that the Mariners designated the Large Adult Son for assignment.
Roster moves: Vogelbach has been DFA’d pic.twitter.com/uRsjW6jY8e— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) August 19, 2020
What’s strange about Vogelbach’s sudden fall isn’t that his discipline got worse (it didn’t) or that he was getting unlucky (he wasn’t). Vogelbach just stopped hitting the ball hard. In 2020, Vogelbach has posted an average exit velocity of just 85.6 mph which puts him in the 11th percentile of major leaguers. Vogelbach has struggled to be even league average in this category since last August.
The silver lining is that Vogelbach still excels at drawing walks. His 17.2 percent walk rate isn’t far off from what he did all of last year (16.5 percent). Vogelbach still does a good job of laying off pitches outside of the strike zone, but with the way Vogelbach is swinging the bat, pitchers don’t need to get him to chase to get him out. They can simply challenge him in the strike zone.
If Vogelbach finds himself on another major league roster this season, he might be useful as a left-handed platoon option for designated hitter. Vogelbach isn’t hitting anyone right now, but Vogelbach has done better against righties throughout his career (.333 wOBA against righties, .250 wOBA against lefties). The trick is finding a team that needs a defensively limited left-handed bat.
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