Want to see Daniel Vogelbach in Home Run Derby? Mariners slugger may need groundswell to get there
Daniel Vogelbach crushed his 18th home run of the season on Wednesday, helping the Mariners defeat the Kansas City Royals 8-2.
The latest Vogelblast – this one a missile down the right-field line that banged off the windows of the Hit It Here Cafe at T-Mobile Park – puts the 26-year-old first baseman on pace for 37 homers this year, a number that only six players in team history have surpassed: Ken Griffey Jr., Jay Buhner, Nelson Cruz, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Canó and Richie Sexson.
Something those six players have in common is that they’ve all competed in the MLB Home Run Derby. And this year, Vogelbach should too.
There’s been a lot of talk about whether Vogelbach should be the Mariners’ representative in the All-Star Game, and with Edwin Encarnación now with the Yankees the only competition Vogelbach really has for that spot is catcher Omar Narváez. Vogelbach doesn’t need to be an All-Star to be included in the derby, though, as the MLB has loosened up on that – the Dodgers’ Max Muncy was in last year’s despite not making the NL All-Star squad.
If Vogelbach gets a trip to Cleveland to play in the midsummer classic, that will still be nice and deserved, but it really isn’t what’s important for Mariners fans if they want to see a Seattle player shine on the national stage. Where Vogelbach needs to be is in the derby.
So, how realistic is that? Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto discussed Vogelbach’s chances on this week’s edition of his Wheelhouse podcast with Aaron Goldsmith and Colin O’Keefe, and he pointed out that there are some hurdles.
“Now the Home Run Derby (participants are) selected by last year’s winners. They serve as team captains, so the team captains get to determine who they’re going to invite,” Dipoto said. “When inevitably they are turned down by six or eight people who don’t want to do it, sometimes they get to that next tier. Vogey’s never been an All-Star, right now we’re on track for his first full major league season, (so) I’m not sure that he has the black book or the network to wind up in that without some kind of outpouring (from fans) like ‘We want to see it.’
“The easiest way to see it is for fans to chatter.”
That’s nothing Mariners fans aren’t used to. After all, the #SendSegura campaign worked like a charm last year, as then-Mariners shortstop Jean Segura won the MLB Final Vote to be added to the All-Star Game, where he homered and probably should have been named MVP.
And wouldn’t you know it, there’s already a hashtag and everything the Mariners are promoting for Vogelbach: #Vogey4HRDerby.
It's a movement. #Vogey4HRDerby
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) June 14, 2019
Dipoto said the M’s are doing their part behind the scenes, and added that Vogelbach could possibly take the event by storm if given the chance.
“We’re trying,” Dipoto said. “… We’ve already lobbied Major League Baseball to keep him in mind (for the Home Run Derby) because frankly he’s turning into a bit of a folk hero here, and he’s such an entertaining player. When Vogey takes batting practice, it is really notable how far he hits the ball, and I think the baseball world would be shocked if they saw him in that kind of environment.”
As fun to watch as Vogelbach is when he’s at the plate, he’s proven to be pretty reserved off the field. He wouldn’t shy away from the chance to swing in the derby, however, as evidenced by his answer when asked by reporters if he would compete if invited.
“It’s definitely something I would do,” he responded.
And it’s definitely something we all want to see.