QUEENS — New York Mets designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach has shown some improvement in his offensive approach since taking a six-game mental break from June 8-15, but manager Buck Showalter still wants to see a little bit more aggression from the lefty.
Batting .203 with a .639 OPS, two home runs, and 14 RBI in his first 47 games of the season, Vogelbach turned things around in his first 10 games back from that week-long break, batting .273 with an .870 OPS, three home runs, and nine RBI before entering an 0-for-his-last-9 slump.
The 30-year-old has continued to try to balance the concept of being too passive at the plate, which was one of the largest cruxes of his earlier struggles. He’s swinging at just 56% of pitches that are thrown down the heart of the plate, per Baseball Savant, which is 16% lower than the MLB average and putting behind in counts early.
“He’s a very selective guy, but sometimes the other team knows that and they’re throwing some pitches early in the count that he can do some damage off of,” Showalter said. “He’s got to send that message a little bit that if you go throw a very hittable pitch early, he will jump you.”
The more aggressive Vogelbach is, the better it bodes for the Mets. Since his return, they’re 3-0 when he hits a home run and 0-7 when he doesn’t — though basing the struggling team’s success on just his bat is unfair considering the pitching struggles and inability for both sides of the ball to sync up this season.
It doesn’t hurt, however, and Showalter believes that Vogelbach will heed to his calls of being more audacious at the dish.
“It’s like the definition of insanity,” Showalter said. “He’s not going to let you continue to do certain things. Good hitters see the patterns that are developing.”