Prospect Notebook: Dan Vogelbach Gets Best Of Former Teammate

Dan Vogelbach, 1b, Cubs: At Fort Myers, Fla.’s Bishop Verot High, first baseman Dan Vogelbach hit the home runs and righthander Hudson Boyd picked up the wins. Now two years later, Vogelbach is still hitting home runs, they just sometimes come against Boyd.

Vogelbach, a 2011 second-round pick of the Cubs, is now playing for low Class A Kane County. Boyd, the supplemental first-round pick of the Twins in 2011, plays for Cedar Rapids, which gives the two former teammates plenty of chances to challenge each other.

“When you see him on the mound in warmups it’s definitely different—you’re used to seeing him on your side,” Vogelbach said. “But when you step into the box and everything changes and he’s just another pitcher and you zone everything out.”

When the two face off, we’ve learned that Vogelbach has the advantage. The first time Boyd faced Vogelbach last week, Vogelbach hit a home run and a double against him. When they went head-to-head again yesterday afternoon, Vogelbach again hit a home run and a double.

“I don’t try to overthink it, because he has a scouting report on me, so it would be scouting report on scouting report,” Vogelbach said. “I just try to go out there and get good pitches to hit and be aggressive and selective.”

Vogelbach hit his 11th home run of the season, but his double on Sunday was arguably more impressive. Boyd got ahead in the count and seemed to have Vogelbach where he wanted him, but even when he made a solid two-strike pitch, Vogelbach stayed back and didn’t try to do too much.

“I pride myself on not striking out,” he said. “It’s going to happen, everyone strikes out, but I want to control that. I try to shorten up and use the whole field. He made a good pitch with a two-seamer away. I was just able to shorten up and get the barrel there.”

Vogelbach had shortened up his swing, but he doesn’t need to take a big cut to drive the ball. With a short swing, Vogelbach lined the ball the opposite way to the left field wall.

Vogelbach’s 2-for-3 day improved his numbers to .277/.347/.472. It was his second consecutive day hitting a home run.

—J.J. Cooper

Miguel Sano, 3b, Twins: Sano is heading to Double-A New Britain (along with Eddie Rosario and Angel Morales) after leaving behind the carnage of a .330/.424/.655 batting line with 16 homers in 56 games for high Class A Fort Myers. He left in style, going 2-for-4 with a pair of home runs in his final Florida State League game yesterday. With the potential to hit 30-40 home runs and draw 80-plus walks in a season, Sano’s monster upside and high strikeout rate will be tested against upper level pitching for the first time.

Albert Almora, cf, Cubs: With Jorge Soler and Javier Baez in high Class A Daytona and No. 2 overall pick Kris Bryant on the way, the Cubs are on the verge of having three of the elite power-hitting prospects in baseball in their farm system. Almora doesn’t fit that profile, but his hit tool has the chance to be special. A broken hamate bone kept Almora off the field until May 22, but in the 16 games he’s been on the field for Kane County he’s hit .433/.466/.567 while showing outstanding bat control and rhythm at the plate.

Peter O’Brien, c, Yankees: A second-round pick out of Miami last year, O’Brien has plenty of power for a catcher. As a 22-year-old in low Class A Charleston, O’Brien is hitting .327/.393/.619 with 20 doubles and nine home runs in 45 games, but his receiving still needs plenty of work and he’s already allowed 15 passed balls. He turns 23 next month and offensively he belongs at a higher level, but he’s probably not going anywhere until the Yankees promote Gary Sanchez from high Class A Tampa.

Courtney Hawkins, of, White Sox: Hawkins’ ultimate feast-or-famine season continued this weekend with him going 5-for-11 with four extra-base hits since Friday. Hawkins has outstanding raw power and athleticism, but given his rudimentary pitch recognition skills it’s puzzling why he’s in high Class A Winston-Salem in his first full season out of high school. With a .221/.280/.575 slash line through 32 games, Hawkins now has more more home runs (11) than singles (8).