One moment last season was the high point of a career long trek to a permanent stay in the Major Leagues. Back to back singles and an intentional walk to load the bases in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 2 of the ALDS led to his moment. Hitting against Rick Porcello of the Detroit Tigers Vogt singled a line drive back up the middle and led the A’s to a dramatic 1-0 win and a 1-1 series tie against the pesky Tigers. The moment was surreal. Chants of Sonny churning out throughout the concrete jungle that is the Coliseum. Within that excitement is the story of the Triple-A catcher turned starting catcher who quietly captured A’s fans hearts.
The Stephen Vogt story has been well documented in the Bay Area and for good reason; it’s a good story. As to not bore you with that story again I’ll give you a quick synopsis. Vogt was a career minor leaguer with the Tampa Bay Rays until he finally got the chance to be in the Major Leagues in 2012. It was a short-lived chance as he only saw 25 games and did not collect a single hit. He was traded to the A’s for cash considerations early on in 2013. The A’s had an abundance of catching injuries in the Minor Leagues making Vogt a necessity rather than a valuable commodity.
Vogt eventually got his chance with the A’s and even though it took another two games to get his first hit it did finally happen, a long home run to right field. He held onto the position for the rest of the year as the injuries to John Jaso and Derek Norris led to Vogt being forced into the starting role. He handled it as well as could be expected hitting at a slash of .252/.295/.400. More importantly however, was how well he handled the A’s young pitching staff after not seeing the majority them at all. The A’s pitching staff raved from day one on how well he called the game.
The A’s have said that Jaso will get the bulk of his playing time at the designated hitter position paving the way for Vogt to be the left-handed hitting counterpart to the right-handed hitting Norris. This means that Vogt will more than likely be in the lineup two-thirds of the season. If he can raise his slash line even a little bit the A’s will have another steal on their hands in the value department.
Vogt’s story has been well told by many different outlets, especially after his Game 2 heroics. However, the story isn’t over. It’s just beginning. This season will be the true story of Stephen Vogt. This is the season that Vogt will get his first shot at a full Major League season and he will provide value in spades. His defense will improve, especially with a full Spring Training with the pitchers. His offense will improve too. I predict a .275/.325/.450 triple slash line for Vogt. If that comes true the A’s will have another major steal on their hands.