Lookout Landing has a cute theory that Vogelbach's confidence can be traced to an AAA HR derby last season. My own theories about "turning points" can be traced to 1901, where the boy prodigy GM Capablanca was getting blown out but then his opponent Corzo, Cuban champion, made a move that stunned Capa ... for its stupidity.
From this point on, Capablanca saw the weaknesses in professional players, and he never looked back in his trek to superstardom (to the extent that a chess wizard can be referred to as a "superstar"). I think most pro athletes' "turning points" -- we're talking about the Mitch Hanigers of the world now, not the Felixes or Juniors -- can be traced to some event at which ---- > a fearsome opponent showed his backside.
Wherever Vogelbach got his confidence, he's rolling along at .400/.518/.867. Dr. D has always looked at him rather like Chris Snelling's older brother, a man with a ferocious HIT tool and a Frank Thomas-level batting eye. The complaint, however, has been that he's allowed too many 0-1, 0-2, 1-2 counts and then, in a defensive mode, flipped too many Boggs hits into LF. Scouts don't like 1B's who hit like Wade Boggs. A recent exception to the rule occurred, coinciding with the M's 116-win season.
I'm not exactly sure what the tragedy is with a bat-first player simulating Wade Boggs, but at any rate 'Bach has apparently solved this groteque dilemma, and the org now sees him as dangerous as well as steady.
Ryon Healy is also a top prospect based on the fact that he has shown looonnnnnnng spurts of HIT and looooonnggggg hits of PWR and his youthful career arc has him, per BaseballHQ, headed for "35 HR" and the position of a minor star. Healy has also come in and swung the bat with bad intentions from the jump, has looked very good to a Mainframe which is in a way
Now you consider what happens when both players hit with the platoon advantage always at the knobs of their bats ...
Felix has made a big deal out of Opening Day. Dr. D finds this mildly aggravating, but ... far more important than petty territorial attitudes, are the happy totals, the constant remarks about the "life" on Felix' pitches. Following two years of very low mileage on the throwing arm, Dr. D thinks it quite possible that he could bounce back to 2012-2013'ish, 2015'ish level performance. He simply has too many offspeed weapons and too much pitching wisdom.
Objectively speaking -- if he were a pesky rodent Angel, e.g. -- the Mainframe would be expecting 2-3 SP performance this year, 8 k 2 bb 1.1 HR results that, with this offense, pencil into a 14-9 W-L record, give or take. Hopefully GIVE.
Here's a last-second scouting report from Skip, that Dee Gordon looks wonderful in CF and that Dan Vogelbach "looks confident" at the plate. How Vogelbach looks is not as important to Dr. D as the fact that such a remark indicates the increasing probability that 'Bach is going to be able to wave the magic conductor's stick from the lefty batter's box.
Dr. D recently read that there is an enotion he didn't even realize there was a name for, L'Appel Du Vide -- the sudden urge to kill yourself. Perhaps you've hiked up to the top of the Columbia Center and then gotten a sudden urge: wouldn't it be interesting to JUMP?! The French, in the typically understated way, refer to this as High Place Phenomenon, or HPP.
May Shohei Ohtani will experience a moment or two of wanting to hurl himself off the mound -- after Dan Vogelbach at-bats, of course. Dr. D is finding it more ad more difficult to rule out....
Lost in the shuffle has been Dr. D's Best Bet, that being Mitch Haniger, a kid who is so good defensively and running the bases that his remarkable hitting may not even be necessary for him to tick that all-important WAR score up to 3.0 or higher. Here is a Lookout Landing article on Haniger from about a week ago, that very carefully (No Cheering In the Press Box) -- whisper the words in hushed tones, where He Who Must Not Be Named (Dave Cameron) cannot hear -- allows that a healthy 2018 Haniger might approach the numbers of an oblique-injured 2017 rookie Haniger, that being .282/.352/.491.
Haniger, nicked and dinged in several ways, hauled in 2.5 WAR in 96 games last year -- a rate that would pro-rate to easily over 4 WAR even at a 22-, 24-homer type level. Whether or not a healthy and experienced Haniger might exceed 22 HR's we will leave to the Gentle Denizens judgment.
Dr. D appreciates the optimistic spirit with which the Gentle Denizens consoled him on Rob Whalen's demotion. This demotion seemed likely to Dr. D also, despite his words of outrageously-optimistic praise of Whalen; the M's need a long line of SP's, single file please, and Dr. D attend Tacoma Rainier games also. If he throws the same kind of Blyleven yakkers in AAA there's no telling what kind of damage Whalen will do. Now the question becomes, what kind of help will Whalen have on the pitch staff at Tacoma....
Lot of dynamic ballplayers we talk about this time 'round, huh.