Fangraphs has a nice article out. In it, Dan Vogelbach concisely explains what his mindset is, and what his mechanical changes are, as he hits for more power (5 homers and 6 doubles in 46 AB). Since we are getting it straight from the horse's mouth, as it were, we'll trust the information. How is Vogelbach suddenly trashing enemy pitching to the tune of an .800+ SLG?
1. Think Airball. Vogelbach sez:
“In the past, I just tried to be a good hitter — be a good hitter first and the power would come,” Vogelbach told me while perched in front of his locker at Seattle’s spring-training facility. “This offseason, I made an adjustment to where my intent is to get the ball in the air more often.”
“I don’t think it’s that so much as feeling there was way more power in there that I wasn’t tapping into,” responded Vogelbach. “I needed to find out why, and from there I needed to make an adjustment. I was able to do that, and now I’m trying to get the ball in the air to center field — I’m trying to hit the ball over the center fielder’s head.”
2. Torque the hips. Again he sez:
“I wasn’t using my hips the way I was supposed to use my hips,” explained Vogelbach, whose left-handed stroke has produced 100 home runs in 2,870 professional plate appearances. “I’m using my legs totally different now. I’m really shooting my hips forward. I’m using my back leg a lot more, and a lot better, than I ever have.
In other words, though he was well capable of hitting like Wade Boggs, with an arm-swing that flipped the ball in to LF .... now he's getting the knees and hips out to produce some centrifugal torque. With a midsection like 'Bach's that can mean quaite a bit of it. Torque, that is.
3. More top-hand dominance. Bach explains that he throws R and bats L, so it's easy to pull the ball through with his bottom, dominant hand. He has "worked with top-hand drills, and a one-hand bat," to get more bicep and pectoral action into the swing.
4. Same Bat Path, Longer Finish. And on this one, it doesn't take a lot of drills to learn to follow through longer; that's the kind of thing you can master in 20 minutes. We kid ... a little. G used to aptly jibe 'Bach for his "sand-wedge swing" and now 'Bach will join the human race -- well, the race of major league 1B's, anyway.
5. Maintain the EYE. David Laurila's super-concise article quotes 'Bach as inSISting that his plate discipline is nothing that's going to change. Vogelbach sez,
“I’m not necessarily changing my approach at the plate,” Vogelbach said as a matter of clarification. “It’s more that I’ve changed my mechanics to where my hard singles can be doubles in the gap. I still want to be a good hitter first. But If guys make mistakes, the goal is for there to be damage as opposed to singles. With my swing the way it is now, if I’m staying through the ball, the extra-base hits and home runs are going to come more often.”
The latest intel on 1B was today's, where Servais said he "didn't rule it out," the idea of having Vogelbach start the year with the Mariners. This dovetails beautifully with Jerry Dipoto's statement a few days ago that "Vogey has earned his way onto this ballclub."
IFF Dan Vogelbach was talent waiting to happen, and he is now a .290/.390/.500 hitter, then he'll get his chance and sooner rather than later. Ryon Healy's dream season is to hit what would you say, let's take HQ who loves him .280/.310/.470. with UP 35+ HR producing a .525 SLG.
But no matter how much we love Healy, leave us not forget his EYE: a lousy 12:60 in 2016 (0.20) and an even worse 0.16 (23:142) in 2017.
Something will happen, a slump or a pitched ball on the hand, or somethin', and Dan Vogelbach is going to get his chance to rake RH hitters.