Stephen Vogt had a decent .279/.321/.431 line in 2014, cracking 9 home runs in 287 plate appearances. He did this while splitting time between catcher, first base, and right field.
With Derek Norris now a Padre and John Jaso a newly-minted Tampa Bay Ray, Vogt is now the primary catcher for the Athletics. Josh Phegley happens to be lurking around the neighborhood as well, but with an anemic .207/.221/.332 slash line for his career, he seems best suited for backup duties in this offense.
The left-handed hitting Vogt is currently the best hope for production at the catcher position for the Athletics. In 2014 he had 230 at-bats versus right-handed pitchers, and batted a cool .291 with eight of his nine home runs against them. Against left-handed pitchers, he had only 39 at-bats and a gruesome .205 batting average.
Now before you scream for an automatic platoon with Phegley, consider that Phegley batted a weak .200 versus lefty pitchers last season. Phegley's sample size was admittedly very small (only 10 plate appearances versus lefties in 2014) but he's not a good enough hitter for us to assume that he'll automatically start over Vogt when the opposing team trots a lefty out onto the mound. In a nutshell, Vogt should have ample opportunity to produce in 2015, and even in a platoon he can be very useful to us (as Derek Norris was last season).
Assuming health, Vogt should amass well over 400 plate appearances as the primary catcher, especially since he can also help out at first base or in right field. In 2014 Vogt spent most of his time batting 6th in the lineup, with 102 PAs at that slot in the order. He also saw a decent amount of time hitting 2nd as well, which is encouraging when trying to project Vogt's counting stats.
I am a little higher on Vogt than Steamer, which currently projects an overall regression for Vogt in 2015. Steamer is projecting 434 PAs, 10 home runs, 47 runs, 48 RBIs, and a .260 batting average. That's one more home run over 147 additional at-bats? And a dip in batting average? This guy hit .324 and .364 respectively over his last two years in AAA ball. Vogt was consistently over the .300 mark and well above average in OBP in the minors. And since breaking into the majors with Tampa Bay in 2012, he has shown growth in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage in every season. Even a modest progression from last year's totals would have Vogt matching the All-Star caliber numbers Derek Norris gave us last season.
I'm not saying he's a top commodity at his position, but for a small investment in the bleary-eyed rounds of your respective drafts, he is a worthy flyer at a very wacky position. At worst, he should offer solid totals as a second catcher. At best, he could continue to improve and maybe crack the Top 12-15 at his position.
In summation, I believe in Stephen Vogt. How can you not love this guy? I am taking a chance on this fan-favorite in 2015.
Stats courtesy of Fangraphs and ESPN.com