The larger than life presence that is Daniel Vogelbach comes in at #9 as the Most Valuable Brewer according to your votes. The big man brought energy, excitement, and a dangerous bat to the Milwaukee lineup.
To say Vogelbach was struggling prior to coming to Milwaukee is an understatement. In 64 plate appearances with the Seattle Mariners, the slugger slashed .094/.250/.226. He also got 5 plate appearances with Toronto where the only positive was one walk. Bringing the former Cubs’ prospect to Milwaukee seemed to be more a shot in the dark than anything else. Nonetheless that shot in the dark worked.
Vogelbach came to Milwaukee and thrived in the 19 games he played. In 67 plate appearances, he slashed .328/.418/.569 while launching 4 home runs. As a result, he put a bit of a charge into an anemic offense. Over their first 34 games, the Brewers scored 4 runs per game. With Vogelbach’s arrival, Milwaukee scored 4.3 runs per game. He impacted this team with his bat.
Beyond his on-the-field performance, he also endeared himself to players and coaches in the Brewers’ clubhouse. Pulling a couple of quotes from an article by Tom Haudricourt and Todd Rosiak, you can see it.
Josh Lindblom said of him:
But the one thing is how positive he is in the clubhouse and the dugout. We’ve talked about the ‘positivity train.’ I think he might be the conductor now.
“Always has a smile on his face, always is bringing energy when we need it from the first pitch on. The stuff that some people don’t see is how positive he is in the dugout.
Brett Anderson noted:
He brings some levity. He’s loud but in a positive way. He’s ‘choo-chooing’ all over the place, being the conductor of the positivity train. He has come in and brought a shot of energy, that’s for sure.
Not only on the field but off the field, he’s been great for this ball club.
Vogelbach’s contribution to the Milwaukee Brewers was bright in 2020. The sample size was small though, which begs the question, were those 67 plate appearances just a hot streak? We should remember that in 2019, the only year he has had significant playing time, Vogelbach had a 111 wRC+, and he hit 30 bombs in Seattle. Forty home runs might not be out of the questions in Milwaukee.
The 270 lb. first baseman/designated hitter still has something to prove, but his first 19 games as a Brewer are a really good start. A flash-in-the-pan or a middle-of-the-order bat for Milwaukee for the next few years is a glaring question that will begin to be answered in 2021, if Vogelbach is retained through arbitration.
Baseball statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball Reference