The walk-up music for Dan Vogelbach says it all. Whenever the Kane County Cougars first baseman comes up to bat, the Stadium audio blares the “BIG BOY” snippet from Nelly’s “Air Force Ones” over and over. You know it well, the refrain from the 2002 hip-hop hit. This music choice shows you that the 5’11” 250 pound Chicago Cubs super-prospect has a grounded sense of self.
When interviewing Dan Vogelbach, you realize that he has an affable personality as big as his frame, potential and signing bonus. (Well, $1.6 million isn’t a huge signing bonus by MLB high draft pick standards, but it’s pretty huge for regular people like us)
Vogelbach hit a 508 foot home run at Chase Field in the December 2010 power showcase. And he hit an eye popping 17 HRs, 50 RBI in just 32 high school games his final season. He has light tower power to any field. Vogelbach has excellent plate discipline with a lot of bat speed and projects to be a good all-around hitter. That’s why he’s ranked 11th among Cubs prospects, and was a 2nd round pick, 68th overall.
Aside from his power, Vogelbach is known for his outgoing persona and clubhouse charisma. I asked him if there were any baseball people that he would describe with those words.
“The way I am isn’t from baseball people, I am the way I am just from the way my parents have raised me. And the way they have taught me to go about life,” he responded.
“If you’re going to do something you might as well do it 100% and enjoy it. If not, then you’re not doing the right thing. I’m doing what I love so there’s no reason for me to not be as happy as I am. So I try to rub off on others and pick other people up, because when I’m down, I want others to pick me up. ”
What about favorite players/role models within the game?
“Pedroia, Fielder, the guys that aren’t your typical players. People told Pedroia he’s too small, he’d never make it. People told me I was too big, I’d never make it. So I look at the guys that work hard and prove people wrong; but growing up my favorite player has always been Chipper Jones,” Vogelbach answered.
Vogelbach has lost about 30-40 pounds since he was drafted by the Cubs. He articulated what’s been the key to his weight loss and conditioning. And of course, maintaining that conditioning.
“Keeping at it and realizing that everything that’s holding me back from going where I want to go is all under my control. How bad do you want it? How bad do you want to prove people wrong?”
Vogelbach will have to watch his weight for the remainder of his career. And work on his defense and base-running to reach “The Show.” His offense, not his defense, is obviously his ticket. So how does Vogelbach fit into the Cubs 105 year rebuilding plan? That Anthony Rizzo kid kind of has first base locked down for awhile. He’ll have to learn a position or be traded to a team with a hole at that position in order to reach the Major League level.
As we’re just two weeks away from the MLB Trade Deadline, we’re looking at some of the biggest MILB prospect names that will be brought up by MLB GMs. Not saying any of these guys will be traded, but all of them will be talked about. Some are actually on the table; others are not. Vis not ranked in the top 100, but he’s in the top 20.
“He’s starting to get his at bats together, and his defense and flexibility is getting better,” said Vogelbach’s Manager and former Chicago White Sox Catcher Mark Johnson.
For the prospect profile/exclusive interview with Vogelbach’s Kane County Cougars roommate/fishing buddy Albert Almora
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also an analyst for 95.7 The Fan, and reports on Chicago sports media for Chicago Now. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks