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Stephen Vogt was a bright spot in a dark season

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Vogt’s contributions on and off the field as well as his Bay Area ties made him an easy player to root for this season.

Pittsburgh Pirates v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

.263/.281/.508, 10 HR, 40 RBI, 3 SB, 107 wRC+, 1.2 bWAR

This year, San Francisco believed in Stephen Vogt.

Over the last two seasons, Buster Posey has played fewer games than he had in any season since his rookie year and the injury shortened year in 2011. As an aging catcher, that is to be expected, though his numbers have been pretty consistently troubling. That sentence physically pained me to write, but if Kenny can face the music, so can I.

This necessitated finding a back-up catcher who could contribute a little bit more than the role usually calls for. The team initially went with Erik Kratz, but that experiment was short-lived because there was someone else waiting in the wings.

Role on the 2019 team

Stephen Vogt, former member of the Oakland A’s and lifelong Giants fan, had signed a minor league deal with the organization in February. Vogt was coming off of a shoulder injury that side-lined his 2018 season and he was looking for another opportunity to contribute to a big league team.

And he did, in more ways than one. Vogt appeared in 99 games for the Giants this season. One at first base, a shocking (because I had forgotten all about them) seven games in the outfield, and the rest behind the plate.

In those 99 games, Vogt was...

/grimaces

quite a bit better than Posey in many ways, in 15 fewer games played. At least in terms of offense. Which isn’t exactly what you want in a backup catcher, but it’s not a bad thing to have off the bench.

Was he great? I mean, 1.2 bWAR puts him in the top 12 players on the team this year, per Baseball Reference. But he’s right between Sam Dyson and Alex Dickerson to round out the bottom of the list, so I’ll let you be the judge of that low bar.

But another thing Vogt brought to the team was heart, and I don’t mean that in the cliche way in which you probably read it. If you haven’t read KNBR’s Mark Sanchez on the ways Vogt helped mentor the young players this season (of which there were a lot) you should probably do that. It ran during the final weekend of the regular season, but understandably, you might have missed it.

For a player who wants to manage one day, he showed he already has what it takes to manage people.

Role on the 2020 team

While it’s been fun to root for Vogt this season, as he seems like just a genuinely cool and likeable guy, I can’t imagine that Farhan Zaidi wouldn’t continue to tinker by playing the market for backup catching alternatives. I think the odds of Vogt returning to the team in 2020 are pretty low, and he might have better opportunities for more playing time elsewhere.

How ‘Farhan’ was Stephen Vogt?

Look, I’m still not particularly clear on how this works. But I’m going to say Vogt was 4 ‘Farhans’ for 2019. Vogt was one of many minor gambles that panned out for the Giants this season, and though he was no Mike Yastrzemski, he was still a success. So I’m going with three.