BLUF: Bat-only masher that fits best as a DH and has very little margin for error.
The Player: Dan Vogelbach (1B, Chicago Cubs) – Second round pick by the Cubs in 2011. Played in just six games after signing, hitting three doubles and bombing his first professional home run. Played in 24 games with the rookie-level Arizona Cubs, hitting .324/.391/.686 this season. Promoted to rookie-level Boise and has hit an eerily similar .329/.391/.696 in 20 games at that level.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Industry Contacts
Body (6-0, 255): Big, wide and thick. Bad body that resembles a beer-league softball player. Unathletic. Needs significant conditioning work, despite having lost weight since earlier in amateur career.
Hit: Simple, easy swing. Despite size, has consistent swing mechanics and good contact ability. Recognizes pitches very well for his age and has a good understanding of the strike zone. Works counts and looks for pitches to hit hard. Takes an aggressive swing but controls the bat well enough to hit for a solid average. Approach and natural hand-eye coordination should allow him to be a plus hitter. Grade – 40/60
Power: Huge raw power. Generates enough bat speed and has raw strength. Already has good loft in swing. Will elevate swing too much at times, sapping some playable power from his game. True plus-plus raw to all fields. Power is generated with ease. Has hitting ability for raw power to translate to game at-bats. Potential 30+ HR bat. Grade (raw power) – 70/70
Arm: Nothing stands out with his arm strength. Has enough – average – arm strength to make necessary relay throws. Grade – 50/50
Fielding: Poor. Unathletic. Doesn’t move well around the bag, though scouts report he has improved. Still a well below-average defender. Fall-down range on ground balls and will struggle picking low throws. Lacks mobility to come off the bag and get errant throws from infielders. Defense has little potential for improvement aside from better hands on balls hit/thrown directly at him. Grade – 30/40
Speed: Bottom of the scale runner with average instincts and almost no projection. Grade – 20/20
Summation: True bat only type. No value (or potential for value) beyond the hitting/power ability. Truly better suited for DH duty long term. Approach will have to improve as he advances, particularly against consistently better secondary pitches. Bat has potential for .280 average and 30+ home runs. Peak offensive performance could make him a valuable cleanup hitter in a good lineup.
Relative Risk: High. Tons of pressure for exceptional offensive development from a very young player.
Future: Should finish the 2012 season with Boise (NWL) and will likely spend the bulk of the 2013 season with Low-A Peoria. Could begin to move quickly in 2014 if he continues to hit at High-A Daytona and possibly onto Double-A. His offensive performance will dictate his timetable through the system but he could be starting to show up on the big league radar late in 2015.