The DH Spot is Too Valuable to Keep Daniel Vogelbach

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Gene J Puskar

Remember to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for continued Pittsburgh Sports coverage: 

I was a very big fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates signing Daniel Vogelbach this past offseason.  However, I am coming to a very sad realization.  Despite being one of the most fun characters to root for in Major League Baseball, Vogelbach is not what the Pittsburgh Pirates need right now.  I have argued time and time again that any at-bats, innings pitched, time in the field, etc. that is not used for the development of our young prospects are wasted.  

So, it pains me to say, Vogelbach is hogging valuable at-bats in the DH spot.  Also, his production has not really warranted continued at-bats.  While some of Vogelbach's monster bombs, or as we like to call them at Gold Lot Sports "Vogel-bombs", are fun to watch, he's only batting .230 with 7 homeruns in 143 at-bats.  

Vogelbach has now experienced two sustained stretches of struggle already this season.  His batting average peaked on April 29th.  In his next sixteen starts, Vogelbach batted just .164, striking out 16 times while tallying just three homeruns and six RBI.  Three homers in sixteen games isn't terrible, but it isn't enough to make up for the terrible average and strikeouts. 

Vogelbach then sustained an injury that sidelined him for a little over a week.  Since his return, albeit a small sample size, he has been even worse.  He is 5 for 26 with one homerun and one RBI.  Terrible for a guy designated to hit.  Plus, he's walking much less than he was at the beginning of the season

Meanwhile, from what we've been fed from the Pirates front office, Oneil Cruz is still down in the minor leagues because he has "stuff to work on".  With his recent barrage of monster homeruns himself, it's certainly not hitting that Cruz needs to work on.  So while I don't want to just stash all of those young Pirates struggling with fielding in the DH spot, it seems like a perfect way to get Cruz some very valuable major league at-bats.  

Additionally, the outfield is getting awfully crowded.  Bryan Reynolds, Jack Suwinski, Cal Mitchell, and now Travis Swaggerty are all outfielders I'd like to see getting at-bats over Vogelbach.  Plus, when Ben Gamel comes back from injury, it will get even more crowded.  

While Reynolds is the "veteran" of the group, he is still developing himself.  He deserves these at-bats.  Also, every at-bat Suwinski, Mitchell, and Swaggerty get makes the picture of this team's future a little more clear.  Instead of sitting one of these guys each day, occasionally DH one of them.  

It is much more valuable knowing if Suwinski, Mitchell, and Swaggerty are going to make a real major league impact in the next several seasons and beyond than letting Vogelbach, with just one good season under his belt, try to find his early-season form.  

So while I was a huge fan of the Vogelbach signing, and the player himself, at the time, I just see how much more valuable it'd be to get Cruz up in that DH spot or give those at-bats to someone else.  So while it will hurt me to say it, it may be time to move on from Daniel Vogelbach.