Often overshadowed last year by the likes of Chesny Young and Mark Zagunis, third baseman Jason Vosler has been one of Myrtle Beach’s hottest hitters in 2016 and is creating quite the buzz about his hot start to the season.
“I’ve been feeling really good at the plate, really comfortable,” Vosler said of his work this season, adding that he’s trying to be more aggressive at the plate. It seems to be paying off as he was recently named the Carolina League Player of the Week for the week of May 9-14, hitting .391/.440/.739. He went 9-25 for the week with four of the nine hits being extra bases, and only struck out once.
Vosler, a graduate of Don Bosco Preparatory High School in New Jersey, spent time bouncing around the infield during his college days at Northeastern University in Boston, gaining a full season of experience at second base, shortstop and third base. As the Pelicans’ current third baseman, the 22-year-old appreciates the variety of infield play he was given during his time in college.
“Coming into pro ball knowing that I played a season at second, a season at third and a season at short in college really helped you feel comfortable in any position they put you at,” Vosler said. “It creates more versatility for you, more options down the road in the future.”
Vosler enjoys playing third base as he’s now becoming much more comfortbale with it through instructional league and Spring Training. However, he’s well aware of Javier Baez’s presence at third base with the Cubs, but his focus is on the present. “You don’t really focus on who’s ahead of you, you just gotta play your best,” he said.
A native of West Nyack, N.Y., college took Vosler, a Yankee fan, to Northeastern University in Boston. where the school's baseball team is offered an incredible opportunity each spring that many can only dream of: the chance to play a practice game against the Boston Red Sox at Jet Blue Park in Ft. Myers, FL.
Vosler still seems almost in disbelief at the memory, shaking his head with a smile, calling it "the best day of the year" for the Northeastern baseball team. "It really made you feel like a little kid again; it was awesome."
Dreams became a reality for Vosler in 2014 when he was selected by the Cubs in the 16th round of the Major League Baseball draft. "It was awesome when [the Cubs] called," Vosler said. "When I looked at all their facilities, Spring Training facilities, minor league affiliates, I saw how serious they were about their minor league development."
The third baseman began his professional career in 2014, appearing in 30 games for short-season Boise where he posted a .266 batting average. He began the 2015 season with low-A South Bend, playing in 69 games with a .235 batting average before being promoted to high-A Myrtle Beach in July where he would play in 38 games and post a .244 batting average to finish the season.
Here we are in May 2016 and Vosler is one of the Pelicans strongest players. Not only does he have the top batting average on the team, but his batting average ranks within the top 10 of Carolina League batters, along with big names such as Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi.
Although his numbers at the plate speak volumes, Vosler feels defense isn't one of his stronger points, but praises his coaches on helping him become better at the hot corner. "It's a credit to the coaching staff here," he said of his progress at third base. "We do a ton of fielding work here in Myrtle Beach and in Spring Training. The coordinators really helped me a lot."
But you have to give Vosler credit for the effort he puts into his defensive skills at third base. Not afraid to get his uniform dirty, the infielder always appears willing to dive for the ball, his sharp reflexes earning applause even from the opposing team's fans.
With about one month left of the first half of the season, Vosler is showing no signs of slowing down. If he keeps up this wicked pace after the All-Star Break, it's going to be a fun second half as fans continue to see what Jason Vosler is capable of on the field.