Vogt was Alex Dickerson before being Alex Dickerson was cool. What makes Dickerson so appealing—other than the teehee-ness of his last name—is how he had to claw his way back from injury. He went two years without stepping onto a major league field, and when he initially got his chance with the Padres, nothing clicked. It’s easy to root for a guy when he’s hitting as well as Dickerson is, but that he got back to the field at all is incredible.
Vogt’s time away from the bigs wasn’t as long, but there was just as much doubt that he’d ever return. At 33, he had to undergo surgery on his throwing shoulder to “repair multiple structures.” It wasn’t that one or two things were hurt. The scene in his shoulder was utter devastation. It was like the setting for a Kaiju film after the final battle. Maybe things could be rebuilt, but with Vogt’s advanced age (for a baseball player), it wouldn’t be long until another giant lizard came around and knocked over his rotator cuff.
To make a comeback even more unlikely, Vogt’s 2017 was mostly unremarkable. He hit eight home runs in 45 games for Milwaukee down the stretch, but overall, he hit .233/.285/.423. Knowing that his most recent year was a bit below average and he’s 34 now and that season was two years ago, it was unlikely that Vogt would be any better and that’s if he played again at all.
But Vogt has been better. Through 106 plate appearances, Vogt’s hitting .277/.349/.500. 15 of his 26 hits have gone for extra bases including a two-triple game and two separate three-run, ninth-inning homers. His home run in Saturday night’s loss to the Diamondbacks fell into the rally killer category, but his first home run helped to complete one of the largest come-from-behind wins in Giants history.
I don’t know how much longer he can keep this up. His resurgent production at the plate has also come with a 10-percentage point jump in strikeout rate and a .375 BABIP, two things that suggest he’ll come down eventually. At the same, he’s raised his hard-hit rate by 10 percentage points, and his xwOBA of .320 says that he’s been at least average. Being at least an average hitter for a backup catcher is pretty, pretty good. Catchers across the league have an 88 wRC+, so that makes Vogt’s 122 mark that much more impressive.
These Giants haven’t given us a lot to cheer about this season, but Vogt’s performance has been refreshingly competent. More than how many doubles he ropes or runs he knocks in, his story gives us something to root for.