Going into the season, there was a fear that the Mets had a designated hitter problem. This is borderline ironic, as the Mets had a bevy of players that didn’t have a natural position on the field, and would make fine designated hitters in theory. But after Robinson Cáno, J.D. Davis, and Dominic Smith all faltered at the position, the Mets had to go out and get a player, or players, to fill the position.
Enter Daniel Vogelbach, the 29 year-old journeyman who had seen stints in Seattle, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh. The left-handed hitter had serious pop, an above average eye, and no natural defensive position on the diamond. On July 22nd, the Mets traded Colin Holderman to the Pirates, and Vogey was a Met.
Vogelbach was instantly an improvement for the strong side DH, collecting four extra-base hits, including two home runs, in his first ten games as a Met. Vogelbach has a strange swing that most closely resembles an actor who has never played baseball before attempting to look like a hitter for a role. It shouldn’t work, but it does.
Bringing with him a reputation as a well-liked player, Vogelbach was a hit in the clubhouse from jump, and seemed like a great fit for the club on and off the field. However, in late August, Vogelbach started to have some hamstring issues, officially described as a ‘high hamstring discomfort.’ While both Vogey and the team downplayed the severity of the injury, a noticeable decline in Voeglbach’s offense followed suit.
After the diagnosis, Vogelbach collected just four extra-base hits the rest of the season, and seemed to be in serious discomfort for the first few weeks post-injury. Due to the paucity of offensive that was gained from the acquisition of his platoon-mate Darin Ruf, the DH position, arguably the Mets’ greatest need at the deadline, still was not delivering for the club.
However, it can be hard to pin much of that on Vogelbach’s performance. In 55 games for the Mets, he put up an OPS+ of 139, or 39% above league average, collected six home runs, nine doubles, and 25 RBIs, good for .9bWAR. It isn’t hard to imagine that without the hamstring injury, Vogelbach could’ve been a considerably bigger part of the offensive picture.
That is one of the reasons, along with his absurdly affordable $1.5 million team option for 2023, that Vogelbach will be on the Mets next season. While the Mets still need to supplement him with a right-handed lefty masher, Vogelbach seems poised to continue to do what he does - hit the ball very hard - for the Mets.