Vogelbach's mom and dad, Jenny and Dan, big brother Josh and younger sister Sarah are the people who mean the most to Daniel.
"We all still live within 10 miles of each other and we're very close, so it's not easy leaving for Spring Training each year," Vogelbach said in May, 2019.
Bryce Harper added to his legend when he blasted a 502-foot homer at the 2009 Power Showcase, a high school homer run derby. Vogelbach surpassed that by launching a 508-foot shot while winning the 2010 event.
In 2011, Vogelbach's senior year at Bishop Virot Catholic High School in Fort Myers, Florida, he committed to a baseball scholarship to the University of Florida.
Daniel passed up offers from several other schools, including South Florida, Central Florida, Miami, Virginia Tech and Florida State.
And on August 15, the deadline for signing after the Cubs chose him in the second round of the draft in June, Vogelbach signed for a $1.6 million bonus, via scout Luka McKnight.
In 2012, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Vogelbach as the 10th-best prospect in the Cubs' organization. He moved up to #7 in the winter before 2013 spring training. And he was at #9 in the offseason before 2014 spring camps opened. He fell to #25 in 2015. And he was ranked at #25 again in 2016.
In 2017, Dan popped back up, to #9—after moving to the Mariners. He was at #12 in the offseason before 2018 spring camps opened. And he was at #16 in the spring of 2019.
Daniel's passion for the game will take him a long way. He has a lot of energy and a strong work ethic. He is positive and just fun to be around. He is a high-character guy. He always has a way to lift a clubhouse. If you're having a bad day, he can make you happy.
"When you play such a long season, and you're with the same guys for this amount of time, you have to stay loose," Vogelbach said. "You have to be able to have a good time as long as you're working hard. That's something I try to do, whether it's the ninth inning and we're down by five, or it's the ninth inning and we're up by five. I try to keep the same spirit with the guys, try to keep playing hard and let them know that we're never out of the game—we're one pitch from [being] right back in it. That's something I've had my whole life. It's something I pride myself in.
"Baseball is a lot more difficult than people think. There are times when you're not going to have a hit in a series. Then, there are times when you don't get out. The biggest thing for me is to learn not to ride the emotional roller coaster, just stay even the whole time."
Daniel heard the so-called experts say he wasn't a good enough athlete to play first base and would be limited to a role as designated hitter. He decided to lose some weight prior to the 2014 season. He reported to the Cubs' Minor League mini-camp 30 pounds lighter than in 2013, and ready for a successful sequel to the previous year, when he was part of Class A Advanced Daytona's run to the Florida State League championship.
How did he lose the weight? It helped that his brother is an athletic trainer and could guide him. Vogelbach did one hour of cardio every day. He also met with a nutritionist. The cardio exercise was key. If he wasn't on an elliptical machine, he was on a treadmill or he'd go on a run with his sister in their Florida neighborhood. Every Wednesday, he added a yoga workout, which helped his flexibility.
"He was on an individual nutritional plan and exercise plan, and he went above and beyond everything," Doug Jarrow, Cubs strength coach said. "He was amazing this offseason." (2/25/14)
Vogelbach's grandmother, Carolyn, passed away during the winter before 2014 spring training.
"Grandma, she was close," Vogelbach said. "My mom's mom and dad, when they passed away, I was younger and I didn't get to develop a relationship with them. Grandma came to every high school game, she was always there, whether it was in a wheelchair or not. The goal was to let her watch me play on TV one time, and she didn't do it, but I know she's got the best seat in the house now."
Vogelbach comes from a strong family. His mother helped with meals, his siblings helped him train. Now, he's back with his second family, the Cubs, and is a new man. Sure, he helped win a championship last season. That's over with.
"I don't want to win one," he said. "I want to keep going and win a lot. When I get to the big leagues, I want to win a World Series, and I want to win multiple World Series." (Muskat - mlb.com - 2/25/14)
In 2017, Daniel won the Offensive Player of the Year Award for Triple-A Tacoma.
Vogelbach is a popular teammate.
“Everybody loves Vogey’s personality,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said in 2018. “He’s funny, he brings a lot of energy and keeps the dugout light and loose. But ultimately, what teammates (want) is, ‘Can this guy help us win?
“I think they saw signs of Vogey really being able to help us going forward.”
July 2019: Vogelbach was invited to his first All-Star Game.
Daniel grew up admiring Chipper Jones, who was his favorite baseball player.
"I just appreciated how he played the game. Growing up in Florida, the Braves were always on TV and that's the team I grew up watching."
But his favorite athlete is Tom Brady: "He was the underdog at the beginning of his career, but is now one of the greatest and most successful athletes of our generation. It goes back to working hard to achieve anything you want." Vogelback said.
What is your favorite road city? "Minneapolis. It is a great city to walk around and explore and the ballpark is one of the best."
Daniel loves to fish and just be around the water. "Being home in Florida is awesome for me. I really don't have the desire to go anywhere else."
- June 2011: The Cubs chose Dan in the second round, out of Bishop Virot HS in Ft. Myers, FL.
- July 20, 2016: The Cubs traded Dan and RHP Paul Blackburn to the Mariners for RHP Jordan Pries and LHP Mike Montgomery.
|Birth City:||Orlando, FL|
|Draft:||Cubs #2 - 2011 - Out of high school (FL)|
Vogelbach is a strong hitter with power to the gaps. As he matures, he will hit a lot more home runs with his impressive bat speed and lefthanded power. He is strong, has a good load and makes good use of his lower half.
Dan's plus-plus raw power (a 65 grade on the 20-80 scouting scale) is all the more impressive because it goes to all fields and he generates it with a very loose, effortless swing. His quick hands, rhythm, patience and pitch recognition give him a good chance to hit for average as well.
Vogelbach controls the strike zone well enough to project as an average hitter—a 50 grade. He struggles to make contact vs. lefty pitching, but will still find a way to get on base because he has such an advanced, patient approach.
Dan has good balance at the plate. His bat path is good. He is a pure lefthanded hitter with an advanced approach and real feel to hit. He has a plan when he goes to the plate to hit. He is polished.
Dude just rakes no matter what level of play. He controls the strike zone at an elite level and absolutely torments righthanded pitchers.
Vogelbach just seems to have a flair for the dramatic, hitting real well in clutch situations.
He can get a little pull-conscious on occasion, but generally hits from gap to gap. He has an advanced approach that leads to plenty of opposite-field line drives. His strength and short swing give him plus power from left-center to the right-field pole.
Unlike many young lefthanded hitters, he puts together competitive at-bats against southpaws as well.
Dan cherishes the one-on-one competition with pitchers and comes out on top more than most. He trusts his approach, works counts and has the strength to punish pitches he’s looking for. He’s consistent and doesn’t give away at-bats.
He has good command of the strike zone.
"He's just really figuring himself out as a hitter,” Cubs farm director Jaron Madison said midway thru the 2015 season. “He’s a lot more calm and not putting as much pressure on himself. Last year (2014) I think he did. He was really trying to work hard on his defense and that might have taken away from his focus.
"He's getting good pitches to hit, and he’s not missing them. He’s always been a guy who controls the strike zone, who’s not going to punch out a lot. Now he’s just getting pitches to drive and putting them into play.”
Watch for Vogelbach to begin tapping into his power in games. That will happen if he begins to look for the right pitch to drive, rather than just putting balls into play which he has a real knack for.
In 2014, Vogelbach grinded through a full season in the High Class A Florida State League and led Daytona in home runs, doubles, RBIs and walks. He offers plus power, and he makes good contact for a slugger, has good bat control and identifies pitches well.
Dan's lack of athleticism means his bat has to carry him, and so far it has been merely good, not great. He struggles against lefthanders and his poor speed leaves him prone to hitting into double plays. (Spring 2015).
Dan controls the strike zone and has plenty of strength in his compact, thick body which he has worked hard to maintain but which has limited athleticism. (Spring 2016)
September 12, 2016: Daniel, one of the Mariners' top hitting prospects, made his big league debut in the ninth inning of the Mariners' 8-1 win in the series opener, pinch-hitting and reaching base on a fielder's choice.
But his debut took an odd turn when he wound up missing second base while going from first to third on what would have been a single to right field by Kyle Seager, a miscue that cost Seager a base hit and led to some good-natured ribbing when Vogelbach reached the dugout in what fortunately was a one-sided win.
"I said, 'Your first Major League game will certainly be memorable,'" Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "'You'll never forget it, and you'll never miss a base again.' And he said, 'You've got that right.'"
"This is a dream come true, isn't it?" Vogelbach said, sitting in the visiting dugout at Angel Stadium prior to the game. "As a kid, this is what you dream of. It's been a long road, and I wouldn't have wanted to change it anywhere. I've learned a lot as I came thorough the Minors, and I've grown a lot as a player and a person. I'm just happy to be here." (Johns - MLB.com)
2017 Season: The Mariners optioned him to Tacoma in late March because they saw a player struggling to do too much and, not surprisingly, spiraling downward.
“There were a lot of encouraging steps forward with his glove,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “But as he started pressing with the bat, in the middle of spring training, we started to see the glove suffer as a result.”
Seattle sees Vogelbach as a young hitter with emerging power who controlled the strike zone—he led the Pacific Coast League with 97 walks in 2016—who might eventually replace Nelson Cruz at DH.
October 2017: Vogelbach was selected as the Mariners Hitting Prospect of the Year by the MLBPipeline.com.
2018 Improvements: Vogelbach decided to embrace being a power hitter, changing his hand placement to increase the launch angle on balls off the bat. Daniel recognized he needed to change.
“It was time,” he admitted. “I definitely made some adjustments in the offseason that I really hadn’t been willing to make.”
September 6, 2019: Dan became just the seventh Mariner to combine 30-plus home runs with 80-plus walks in a season, joining the impressive list of Hall of Famers Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner, Alex Rodriguez, Gorman Thomas, and Richie Sexson. Griffey and Buhner each reached those totals twice.
- Oct 14, 2019: Things changed dramatically for Daniel Vogelbach after he was named to the American League All-Star team on June 30. Prior to that, he’d posted a .248/.383/.528 line with 20 homers in 78 games. In his remaining 66 games, those numbers plummeted to .159/.286/.332 with 10 homers.
The dramatic decline in on-base percentage seems particularly key, as Vogelbach’s bread-and-butter is his ability to be selective at the plate. His strikeout-to-walk ratio went from 69 strikeouts and 56 walks in 313 plate appearances before June 30 to 80 strikeouts and 36 walks in 245 plate appearances afterward. If I had simple answers for why, the Mariners would hire me as their hitting coach. But he seemed to lose the aggressive approach where he was hunting the fastball and finding his pitch to hit early in the season.
In situations where Vogelbach got ahead in a count 1-0, he posted a .956 OPS. After being behind 0-1, he had a .587 OPS. Almost all hitters have worse numbers in that scenario, but Vogelbach’s are particularly dramatic. He also got exposed a bit as the season progressed when the Mariners used him more against left-handed pitchers after trading Edwin Encarnacion. He hit just .161/.288/.315 against lefties on the season, compared to .225/.359/.485 against righties.
Vogelbach feasts on confidence, but he looked lost at the plate in the final weeks. A lot of baseball is about confidence and he needs to regain the Vogey swagger. But one thing I’ve learned about Vogelbach, don’t ever count him out. Nobody thought he was part of the future last spring, but he busted out with an All-Star half. It’ll be interesting to see if he can regroup and prove his doubters wrong again. (G Johns - MLB.com - Oct 14, 2019)
- As of the start of the 2019 season, Daniel's career Major League stats were: .197 batting average, 4 home runs with 15 RBI in 127 at-bats.
Daniel is a first baseman with good baseball instincts, but he lacks athleticism. Defensively, his hands are good, but he doesn't move around the bag very well. It got better back in 2014, after he'd dropped 30 pounds.
He might develop into a nearly-adequate defensive first baseman. He really works hard on the defensive part of the game and works at improving his footwork around the bag every day. His defense is rated a 35 or at best a 40 on the 20-80 scouting scale.
“We believe he can play first base as well,” Mariners G.M. Jerry Dipoto said late in the 2016 season. “Now, we’re not expecting the next iteration of Keith Hernandez or Don Mattingly. But he’s really worked hard on his defense.”
- Vogelbach fields the baseball out in front of his body, gets his glove in a good position, and delivers the baseball accurately to his target.
Daniel could add range and arm strength. Both are far below average. He is limited to first base.
Vogelbach works very hard on his defense in an effort to become adequate. And by the midway point in the 2014 season, his defense had improved noticeably. He has accepted the challenge to improve with the glove at first base.
Yes, Dan is still below-average with his glove at first base, but he's more flexible now and is playable at first base, surprising many scots who had him as a DH-only prospect.
He improved defensively in 2014 with only 7 errors (racked up 11 in 2013), but he is still a poor defender at first base. (Spring 2015)
A below-average defender and runner, Dan isn't a strong candidate to move to the outfield, and struggles with lefthanded pitching as well. (Spring 2016)
Vogelbach was called up to the Mariners in September 2016. But he didn't play that much, instead spending his most significant time on the field before each game, working for hours with bench coach Tim Bogar on fielding drills at first base.
"In life, all you can ask for is a chance,” said Vogelbach, a lefthanded batter. “Then it’s up to you to do what you will with that chance. I’m going to take full advantage of it, bust my butt in the offseason and come to spring training, I’m going to know I’ve done everything I can to put myself in the best situation to be where I want to be.”
The Mariners need Dan, who is 6 feet and 250 pounds, to be viable at first base. He understands and worked with Bogar daily to improve his footwork and fundamentals.
“I want to continue to work to be the best first baseman that I can be,” Vogelbach said. “And now that I’ve set the foundation with Bogey and got the right footwork . . . it’s just going forward and continuing to better it.
Vogelbach plans to continue the work this offseason while trying to streamline his body with some lost pounds to improve his agility. (Ryan Divish - Baseball America - 11/18/2016)
In 2017, Dan was working hard at improving his glove-work at first base. Nelson Cruz's contract is good through 2018, so any playing time Vogelbach gets will be at first base, not DH.
“We’re not looking for Gold Glove defense over there,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “But he’s got to be Major League adequate and able to handle the plays he needs to.”
Vogelbach was displaying increased mobility at first base with Tacoma.
- Dan is a well below-average runner. He actually clogs the bases.
- During the 2013 season, once scout described Vogelbach: "He's really a softball first baseman.”
- Vogelbach sought out his high school track coach to help him with running technique. But he is still a 30 runner.
May 26-June 8, 2015: Vogelbach was on the D.L. with a hamstring injury.
July 4-Aug. 21, 2015: Dan was on the D.L with a pulled oblique muscle.
- August 26-Sept. 4, 2018: Vogelbach was on the DL.