Facing various injuries to start the 2012 season,the Tampa Bay Rays have decided to call up their reigning Minor League Player of the Year Stephen Vogt. The 27-year-old was hot during Spring Training, posting a .323 average in 31 at bats, but was sent to Triple-A Durham earlier this spring to work on his catching, the position which the Rays felt he had the best chance to make the big league club. Until B.J. Upton (lower back) and Sam Fuld (wrist surgery) can return, Vogt will likely play a super utility role for the Rays. His ability to play outfield, first base and catch, combined with his potent bat, make him the Rays obvious choice for promotion.
Vogt’s journey to the big leagues has included a standout college career and additional development through the minor leagues. But before he was a four-time All-American in college and Minor League Player of the Year, he was ahigh school player aspiring to compete at the next level. Vogt joined the Baseball Factory in 2002 as a junior in high school. Through hard work and dedication, Vogt developed his game at numerous player development events. His hard work paid off and he earned two Baseball Factory Pre-Season All-American selections. Throughout the recruiting process Vogt utilized Baseball Factory’s Exclusive College Recruiting Staff along with the Baseball Factory Premium Video Program, and it paid off in a big way. Vogt received interest from numerous programs before graduating from Central Valley Christian High School in 2003, including the University of Richmond and Coastal Carolina. But it was Jeff Ishii (former recruiting coordinator at Azusa Pacific University, currently area scout for St. Louis Cardinals) who took notice of Vogt and recruited him to play at APU. Vogt went on to be a four-time All-American and hit over .400 during his college career.
The Tampa Bay Rays drafted Stephen in the 12th round of the 2007 amateur draft. Last year, his fifth in the Rays minor league system, Vogt hit 17 home runs between Double-A and Triple- A and was invited to the Rays Spring Training at the start of the season. However, both Vogt and the Rays expected his start to the season to be at Triple-A, with an outside chance of making the big league club as a catcher. According to manager Joe Maddon, although this was not the exact path they saw for Vogt, his bat was one of the most impressive they saw during Spring Training and at the Triple-A level, and the circumstances warranted a call-up.
Baseball Factory would like to congratulate Stephen on getting the call to the show! We wish him the best of luck and continued success at the big league level. Check out the video below of a workout Stephen went through in 2003.