Jun 26, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher A.J. Griffin (64) high fives catcher Stephen Vogt (21) after defeating the Cincinnati Reds at O.Co Coliseum. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Cincinnati Reds 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Agent Zero: Stephen Vogt

Most Oakland sports fans can recall the original Agent Zero, point guard Gilbert Arenas who made a name for himself as a Golden State Warrior during the early 00′s. At the risk of digressing too far of the subject of Athletics baseball, Arenas went by the self-proclaimed moniker “Agent Zero” after being told there was a zero percent chance he would ever make an impact in the NBA. Before he turned into a gun-toting NBA pariah, Arenas embraced the words of the non-believers and took the league by storm with number zero emblazoned across his jersey. In the case of the newest member of the Oakland Athletics Stephen Vogt; he may have a thing or two in common with infamous Arenas.

In parts of two seasons spent with the Tampa Rays and now Oakland Athletics, Vogt has yet to register a hit in 31 at-bats. The big fat zero, found under his hit total stands out like a pimple on prom night. Instead of hiding behind the usual cliched answers, Vogt has discussed his unfortunate luck candidly and with a great degree of self-deprecating humor.

At first glance, the stat line of .000/.074/.000 in 34 plate appearance may lead one to the inclination that the batter in question has simply been over matched by advanced pitching. For Vogt, that could not be farther from the truth. In his 31 official at-bats, Vogt has only struck out a grand total of twice. His consistent contact has obviously failed to pay dividends, and his at-bats where he has put the ball in play have registered at 63.5% flyballs , 26.7%  ground balls, 10% line drives, and 15.8% infield pop-ups. All this of course, is naturally of an incredibly small sample size but is magnified by such a streak coming at the onset of his career.

For now, the zero’s are numerous and glaring. Yet, you couldn’t tell by watching Vogt play. He was, in fact the man behind the plate during Wednesday game guiding A.J. Griffin, to a two-hit shutout in only his second game as an Athletic. With the incumbent John Jaso on the mend, Vogt’s time in Oakland may be limited but tonight’s game against the Cardinals will serve as another chance to record his first big league hit. The time as come again for Oakland fans to rally around Agent Zero. When Vogt records his first Major League hit, be sure to remember to applaud. After all, it’s been a long time coming.

 

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