Dan Vogelbach is awesome, and it has nothing to do with stats. From what I saw of him in action, the young man is a leader, the kind of player you want to be on the field with. But he's also humble and polite, traits I was fortunate enough to experience firsthand.
But the first thing most people recognize about Vogelbach is his size; listed at 6' 0" and 240 lbs, he's a player who stands out on the baseball diamond. But while the weight on the scorecard has only dropped a little from last year's (very conservative) 250, most reports have the first baseman weighing in some 30 pounds lighter now.
Much has been made of the depth of the Cubs farm system, with a great deal of focus on the middle infield. But with an All Star manning first base in Chicago, Vogelbach knows that he's got a lot to work on, and that includes perhaps being able to move off of his current spot. While he wants to stay at first, his value is greater if he's more flexible.
Of course, the physical traits are only a part of what makes Dan Vogelbach an intriguing prospect. After all, who doesn't love a big guy with a big bat? But what's most impressive about this 21-year-old is his makeup, the attitude he brings to the ballpark. As much as the stats and the stature, that approach is something that can't be overlooked.
During my time at the game, I was able to move all around the ballpark, taking in different angles of the game. Amid all the sights and sounds though, one thing that stood out was Vogelbach's love for the game. From chatting up the ump and opposing first base coach, to encouraging his teammates, to the way he hustled out ground balls, the guy was genuinely enjoying himself out there.
Dan was even courteous in satisfying the entreaties of numerous autograph hounds, but he wasn't able to talk with me prior to the Daytona Cubs' game against the Jupiter Hammerheads, Advanced A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. He was, however, able to set aside a couple minutes for Cubs Insider after the game.
Of course, this was only after he had helped douse teammate Albert Almora, who had just finished hitting for the cycle in the D-Cubs 13-8 13-inning win, with a jug of ice water. This being the last day of the season's first half, I didn't want to keep Dan from his teammates, not to mention a change of clothes (it was a long, muggy night in Jupiter), for too long.
So despite the gaping hole torn in the leg of his trousers and the marathon effort of the game, he was gracious enough to field a few questions about his fitness, hitting in a pitcher-friendly league, and even the possibility of the NL adopting the DH. Oh, I might have even broken the news about Kyle Schwarber's promotion.
But as you'll hear, Dan Vogelbach isn't about big names and hype, not even his own. He's a kid who just wants to win, and to do it the right way. If I hadn't been one already, Dan Vogelbach would've made a new fan tonight.
I loved his answers, though I might need to polish up my interviewing skills for the next time.
Follow me on Twitter: @DEvanAltman
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