Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE
Jason Hunt takes a look at a first base prospect who could be very interesting to fantasy owners, Chicago Cubs' prospect Dan Vogelbach.
Drafted by the Cubs in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft, Vogelbach was already considered a 1B only prospect right out of high school. He signed late in the draft window, netting a $1.6 million bonus from the Cubs right before the deadline.
Vogelbach appeared in 6 games in his draft year, and was sent to the Arizona Rookie League as his first assignment in 2012. Even in an offense heavy environment, his performance stood out, with a .324/.391/.686 line with 7 home runs in just 24 games. The Cubs gave him a bigger challenge by sending him to the Northwest League, where he hit 10 more home runs in 37 games, and a slash line of .322/.423/.608.
The reports on Vogelbach coming out of the draft were that this was a very good hitter, and that there was a ton of raw power potential in his bat. His approach is already considered to be solid given his age, and a 35:48 BB:K ratio between his two stops helps confirm that he has a good idea of what he is doing at the plate.
Already listed at 6' and 250 lbs, a major concern for Vogelbach will be whether he will continue to add weight to his frame, or if he will be able to stay in that range. Vogelbach isn't going to win any beauty contests, but as we're all reminded, they're not selling jeans here. The big concern is keeping his weight in check, as he was as high as 280 at times before the draft.
His power potential is immense, and has already shown quite a bit in his production so far. While this is a definite plus power type, his hit tool has the potential to provide value as well, and I could see solid performances in both batting average and on base percentage in the long-term. He wasn't expected to provide any value really with his running skills, but honestly, if his other tools develop as anticipated, it won't matter in the slightest.
Limited to 1B only on defense, Vogelbach is going to need to continue to hit and hit very well to provide excellent value as a prospect, but all indications so far are that he will be able to keep this up. Craig made the comment that Vogelbach may be more suited to being a DH, but as of now that is clearly not an option for him, even though it holds true. We could very well see him as the #1 prospect at the position by this time next year.
I would be inclined to think that the Cubs will give Vogelbach a full season assignment this coming year, and will be very curious what he can do with 500 plate appearances. I don't think that 25 home runs in 130+ games is out of the question, and I think it can absolutely come with a high batting average as well.
If he is given that full season assignment for 2013, and does well, I could see him on a path to reach the Majors in either late 2015 or early 2016, at which point he will still be just 23 years old.