The Chicago Cubs announced on Friday that Kane County Cougars first baseman Dan Vogelbach was named the minor league position player of the month. The award does not come as much of a surprise to those who follow Vogelbach.
The 20 year-old first baseman is in his second year with the Cubs organization, 2013 being his first year playing a full season after spending 2012 with Boise in Short-A ball. Vogelbach was having a very solid season in Full-A with the Cougars but really elevated his game in July. In 27 games, Vogelbach batted .330 with 4 doubles, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 15 R, a .417 OBP and .500 SLG – good for a .917 OPS.
Vogelbach was a second round draft pick for the Cubs in 2011, a month before former Cubs general manager Jim Hendry was fired. Even though Cubs president and general manager, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are not responsible for drafting him, they have played a big role in Vogelbach’s development and he is certainly on board with their plan.
“Its means a lot, it means going out everyday, working hard, playing hard, and being accountable for your actions on and off the field,” Vogelbach said in an interview with ChiCitySports earlier this month. “A lot of people aren’t very happy with the way things are going and the way things have been going with the Cubs for a while but we are all bought in and we are all on board.”
Vogelbach is rated as the Cubs 11th best prospect in the system and the third best first base prospect in the entire minor leagues, according to MLB.com. Certainly high honors for a second round draft pick with questions about his weight coming out of high school. Now that Vogelbach has put those doubters to rest, he faces the uncertainty of where he fits in the Cubs plans with Anthony Rizzo manning first base at the major league level for years to come.
“That goes back to something I can’t control,” Vogelbach said. “Rizzo is a great player and a great guy. I hope for the best for him, I hope he keeps playing well. It goes back to me playing hard each and every day and letting the chips fall in place.”
Whether it is with the Cubs or another organization, Vogelbach is on his way to become a successful big leaguer. The Cubs show no signs of promoting Vogelbach with just one month remaining in the Cougars season. He will most likely start the season at Advanced-A Daytona next year and continue to work on adapting to better pitching as he moves through the ranks.
If the Cubs do indeed plan to move Vogelbach, they are better off waiting a few years down the road to let Vogelbach develop and gain more value. In his first full season, Vogelbach has shown great power with 20 doubles and 16 home runs. But the most noticeable part about his season has to be his plate discipline. Usually this is an area that young players struggle with but Vogelbach has only struck out 67 times in 397 at-bats while drawing 52 walks.
Congratulations to Dan on being named the Cubs minor league player of the month and on a great season with Kane County.
In case you missed it, I also sat down with Cubs top prospect, Albert Almora earlier this month as well.