Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

major award leg lamp trophyWhen Luke wrote about Dan Vogelbach’s unparalleled start to the 2015 season at AA, and when I fawned over Vogelbach’s numbers (twice), we weren’t just pumping up another Chicago Cubs prospect since some of the elite guys have moved on to the big leagues.

His numbers in the first 10 days of the season were so good that Vogelbach was named the Player of the Week in the Southern League. That’s not a group of Cubs fans promoting one of their own. That’s an objective measure of awesomeness.

And now Vogelbach has done it again.

Today, the Southern League announced that, for the second week in a row, Vogelbach is their Player of the Week. I’m not sure I can do Vogelbach’s accomplishment any more justice than the Smokies did with this tweet:

Even that probably doesn’t quite capture how uniquely special it is for a player to win the honors twice in a season, let alone two weeks in a row right out of the gate. With 10 teams and upwards of 30 players per team (including those on the 7-day DL), you can see that the odds of winning the award are long.

But when you do what Vogelbach has done, you’re going to win it. Again and again.

So, for posterity, here’s what Vogelbach has done this year (including his season worst game yesterday, when he went 1-4 with 2 Ks … yes, that was his absolute worst game): .444/.552/.741 with 3 HRs and 7 2Bs in 15 games. He’s struck out just 5(!) times, and walked 13 times. The sample is still under 100 plate appearances, but I don’t have context for those numbers, especially when you consider the K/BB. I just don’t. I can’t remember seeing anything quite like this – and this is coming from a guy who wrote about Bryant/Soler/Russell/Schwarber/etc. last year.

I don’t think Vogelbach can keep this up, but I do think he’s showing something pretty special right now. If he plays anywhere even remotely close to this level for much longer, he’s going to see a mid-season promotion to AAA Iowa. From there, as a guy who has to be added to the 40-man roster after the season (he’s Rule 5 eligible), we’ll see what happens. Because his defensive abilities are limited to first base (and maybe not even there), it’s tough to see him cracking the big league team long-term, and maybe you’re thinking of him as a very good trade chip.

But if the bat keeps doing this kind of thing … man … I’ll confess: you do start wondering about how you might be able to shift some guys around from time to time to get Vogelbach some starts.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Way ahead. For today, let’s just enjoy that Vogelbach’s start to the season is probably among the best in all of the minor leagues.

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