Drayer: Why the Mariners aren’t starting Daniel Vogelbach every day

May 8, 2019, 5:18 PM

Mariners DH Daniel Vogelbach has been sitting against left-handed starting pitchers. (Getty)...

Mariners DH Daniel Vogelbach has been sitting against left-handed starting pitchers. (Getty)


I’ve been getting a lot of questions about why Daniel Vogelbach is not starting every day for the Mariners.

How will Mariners handle struggling ‘pen until Hunter Strickland returns?

He’s appeared in 31 of the Mariners 38 games so far this season, but not all of those games were starts. There are a number of factors that go into determining who out of the three-person mix at first base and designated hitter gets those starts.

With the team hoping to be able to move Edwin Encarnación and Jay Bruce before the trade deadline, both are going to get significant playing time. With Ryon Healy now at third base, Encarnación is seen as the best defensive option at first base. That coupled with his production is going to give him priority.

There is also the issue of handedness. Vogelbach has had few starts against left-handers, but at some point he will need to be seen against both righty and lefty starters on a consistent basis. Could that time be soon?

“It depends who the lefty starter is,” Mariners manager Scott Servais answered in the pregame media session Wednesday in New York. “There are some who pitch a little differently, some into different parts of the strike zone that Vogelbach handles better than others. It’s hit and miss, but a lot of it is what kind of lefty is it, how does he attack lefty hitters. That plays into it.”

In a ‘step-back’ year with a rather clunky roster, there is much that is weighed before Servais’ lineup card is made out. In the case of Vogelbach, holding him out of starting lineups against lefties been about both his development and the game at hand, according to Servais.

“You want to put players in a position where they have a chance to succeed and keep them going in a good spot versus just firing them out there in something that doesn’t on paper look like a great matchup,” he said. “So you are doing the right thing there. There are times to let them run, and it doesn’t matter who is out there. They are bringing in a nasty left-handed reliever and Vogey is swinging the bat well? Yeah, we will let him hit. What are the other options? That plays into it a lot, as well. It’s part of the development. I think Vogey can hit, I think Vogey knows the strike zone, but as far as starting against left-handed pitching, sometimes it matters what the other options are and, like I said, how the left-handed starter gets them out.”

To date, Vogelbach has had only 47 plate appearances in the big leagues against lefites, and the numbers are not strong in the very small sample size. While the roster may not be ideal right now, at some point this year the Mariners are going to need to see Vogelbach play every day. They are learning what he is against right-handed big league pitching, and they will need to see what he is against the lefties.

Another Blowers prediction comes true, this time with Mariners’ Jay Bruce

Team: mariners
Date Starting Pitcher
Wednesday, September 27 @ 6:40 pm

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Light Rain then Rain Showers
High 60° | Low 51°
Roof is open
Astros at Mariners today at 6:40pm

Shannon Drayer

Seattle Mariners...

Shannon Drayer

Drayer: What to know as Mariners enter final stretch in playoff chase

The Seattle Mariners are in the home stretch of their season. Shannon Drayer has what you need to know as they enter their final 10 games.

6 days ago

Seattle Mariners Teoscar Hernández...

Shannon Drayer

Drayer: Mariners find payoff in not trying to do too much

Seattle Mariners slugger Teoscar Hernández talked to Shannon Drayer about his successful night at the plate in Tuesday's 7-2 win over the A's.

7 days ago

Seattle Mariners José Caballero...

Shannon Drayer

Drayer’s Mariners Notebook: Talks play role in needed win

Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais was busy with talks to players on Monday who went on to come up big in their 5-0 win over the A's.

8 days ago

Seattle Mariners Jarred Kelenic...

Shannon Drayer

Drayer: With eyes opened, Mariners’ Kelenic set free to return

Jarred Kelenic makes his Seattle Mariners return after 45 days out due to a fractured foot with a new mindset. Shannon Drayer has the story.

15 days ago

Seattle Mariners George Kirby...

Shannon Drayer

Drayer: Mariners’ Kirby shows ‘better understanding’ after critical comments

Seattle Mariners starter George Kirby addressed his critical postgame comments after Friday's game. Shannon Drayer has the story.

18 days ago

Seattle Mariners Scott Servais Tayler Saucedo...

Shannon Drayer

Drayer’s Mariners Notebook: Tough September, Muñoz and more

"If you look at our schedule, we don't have any easy ones," Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais said. M's insider Shannon Drayer on that and more.

22 days ago

Drayer: Why the Mariners aren’t starting Daniel Vogelbach every day