Vogelbach, who is projected to serve as the Mariners' primary designated hitter, could become an attractive trade piece if he starts the season off well, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. The burly 27-year-old slugged 30 home runs in 2019 yet also struggled to a .208 average, in large part due to a 26.7 percent strikeout rate and .232 BABIP. Vogelbach's season essentially fell off a cliff after the All-Star break, but he was hitting an impressive .321 (9-for-28) over 12 Cactus League games when spring training was suspended. Johns speculates that if Vogelbach carries over that momentum into summer camp, and eventually, the first month of the regular season, he could become a particularly appealing trade option for contending National League teams that will be filling a full-time designated hitter spot for the first time this season.
Vogelbach's improved contact rate stood out to hitting coach Tim Laker before spring training was suspended, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. Vogelbach worked on several adjustments to his approach in the batter's box this offseason after posting an anemic .162/.286/.341 line following the All-Star break in 2019. Laker feels Vogelbach's results this spring -- a .321 average (9-for-28) across 12 Cactus League games -- speak to a keener eye at the plate on the part of the burly slugger. "He was frustrated a little bit in spring, just because he hadn't hit any home runs yet, but Daniel Vogelbach is not a guy that is going to have to worry about power," Laker said. "It's not like he lost his power. I felt like he was having better at-bats, wasn't striking out nearly at the clip he was in the second half. I did think it was headed in the right direction, for sure."
Vogelbach, who was hitting .321 (9-for-28) prior to the suspension of spring training, focused on being more aggressive early in counts and improving against left-handed pitching this offseason, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. "I feel really good," the Florida native reaffirmed. "I'm swinging at strikes. I feel really good off lefties, and that was my goal coming into Spring Training -- to try to dominate lefties. Every time a lefty is on the mound, really lock in and try to dominate them. It's something I needed to get better from last year and is a goal of mine, and it starts in Spring Training." Vogelbach is expected to primarily operate at designated hitter this season with rookie Evan White taking over at first base, so he should have plenty of time to remain focused on the improvements he attempted to make this offseason. The burly slugger's motivation was a poor second half of last season -- one in which he slashed an anemic .162/.286/.341 -- and he also generated an unsightly .161/.288/.315 line versus southpaws in 2019. Both Vogelbach and manager Scott Servais also came to the conclusion the 27-year-old was too passive in the post-All-Star-break portion of the campaign, as he posted a .926 OPS when putting the first pitch in play and a .587 figure when getting behind in the count. With Tom Murphy and Aaron Nola both poised to see some time at designated hitter as well this season, Vogelbach will still sit against some left-handers, but his production prior to the pause in play offered reason for optimism.
Vogelbach is not in the lineup Thursday against the Athletics, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. Vogelbach is slashing .160/.333/.300 with two home runs and six RBI in 19 games this month. He'll give way to Domingo Santana at DH on Thursday with lefty Sean Manaea starting for Oakland.
Vogelbach (neck) went 0-for-2 with a walk in a loss to the Astros on Tuesday. Vogelbach had sat out the series finale versus the Orioles on Sunday with neck soreness, but he was well enough to serve as the designated hitter Tuesday. The slugger remains mired in a 1-for-16 slump that's encompassed his last five games, and he's now gone without an extra-base hit in 12 of his last 13 contests overall.
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