Daniel Vogelbach continuing to get DH chances despite month-long slump

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Daniel Vogelbach Mets
Daniel Vogelbach (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

If a designated hitter isn’t hitting, what are you left with? For the Mets, a wasted roster spot. 

On Wednesday night, Daniel Vogelbach was penciled into the Mets’ lineup as their designated hitter for the fourth time in the last six games despite a near-month-long slump that has helped add to one of the more disappointing springs in the franchise’s history considering just how high expectations were entering 2023. 

Easy enough to see how that played out. He went 0-for-3 with one strikeout and a walk.

Over his last 25 games prior to the middle game of the Mets’ series against the Atlanta Braves, Vogelbach is slashing an abysmal .140 with one home run and three RBI.

At a position in which the Mets are in desperate need of an influx of power to support slugger Pete Alonso and to offer some protection to others like Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil, the 30-year-old lefty is slashing just .203/.343/.640 (.673 OPS) with two home runs this season. 

“[His at-bats are] not as good as he’s capable of,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said last week. “He’d be the first to tell you. Some of the things he’s good at, how do you get it going?”

Daniel Vogelbach Mets
Daniel Vogelbach (Rob Cuni/amNewYork)

For a player that once hit 30 home runs in a season, Vogelbach has been too passive at the plate. Per Baseball Savant, he’s swung at just 55% of pitches down the heart of the plate, which is considerably less than the league average of 72%.

“When he’s not aggressive, when he’s taking a lot of pitches, he’s trying to find a happy medium,” Showalter said. “There’s a certain air of ‘what have you done for me lately and right now that game, that at-bat?’ He gets it. It is what it is as far as the environment. He’s trying almost to a fault. If you’re around and hear the things in the clubhouse and in the dugout, believe me, these guys care a lot and a lot of things don’t help but they’re a part of the environment.”

Showalter’s loyalty to Vogelbach, however, is becoming more and more mystifying as his slump worsens. Mark Vientos, who was called up amidst a raging-hot start in Triple-A, has only received 32 at-bats since his season debut on May 17. That’s not nearly consistent enough to establish any sort of momentum for a 23-year-old who appears to be in the long-term plan of the Mets.

Mark Vientos Mets
New York Mets’ Mark Vientos celebrates with teammates after hitting a two run home run during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday, May 17, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

For more on the Mets and Daniel Vogelbach, visit AMNY.com