Cubs have DH in the waiting in Class A slugger Dan Vogelbach
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com April 4, 2013 1:52PM
Dan Vogelbach, 20, is one of a touted group of promising young hitters at the Class A level of the Cubs’ farm system – perhaps the best pure power hitter in the bunch. And he hits left-handed. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
CUBS AT BRAVES
Friday: 6:30 p.m., CSN+, 720-AM, Scott Feldman (6-11, 5.09 in 2012) vs. Mike Minor (11-10, 4.12).
REST OF THE SERIES
Saturday: 6:10 p.m., ch. 9, 720-AM, Carlos Villanueva (7-7, 4.16) vs. Julio Teheran (0-0, 5.68).
Sunday: 12:35 p.m., CSN, 720-AM, Jeff Samardzija (1-0, 0.00, 2013) vs. Tim Hudson (0-0, 6.23, 2013).
Updated: April 5, 2013 8:58PM
PITTSBURGH — Dan Vogelbach is hard to miss in any room. He’s 6-feet, 250 pounds and built like he’s destined to be the next great Wrigley Field slugger or star in the next Flintstones movie.
Cubs officials say he has a unique and charismatic personality that resonates with teammates, but on a rare day in March when the Class A first baseman was invited to join big-league spring training as an extra player, he was quiet and serious, somehow faded into the background of the clubhouse.
‘‘It’s a good experience. You get to see how the big-leaguers work, see how everything’s done up here,’’ he said. ‘‘It just makes me want to get here faster.’’
Vogelbach, 20, is one of that touted group of promising hitters at the Class A level of the Cubs’ farm system — perhaps the best pure power hitter in the bunch. And he hits left-handed.
But he’s also a first baseman, with no other reasonable position in his portfolio, playing for a team with Anthony Rizzo installed at first.
And that makes the latest talk of adopting the designated hitter rule for both leagues especially relevant to the rebuilding Cubs.
With Major League Baseball in its first season of 15-team leagues and, consequently, interleague games every week, the subject is expected to get increased attention. Cubs president Theo Epstein predicted to USA Today that the DH was coming, and ‘‘hopefully we’re just a few years away.’’
The timing might not be better for the Cubs and their hitting prospects, particularly Vogelbach, a second-round draft pick out of Florida in 2011.
‘‘You produce some pretty good hitters in the minor leagues,’’ manager Dale Sveum said, and sometimes you might have to trade them off or whatever because of the positions when . . . you might not have a spot for them.
‘‘I think Vogelbach’s a good example of that type of guy. You might not have a spot, but you would if you had a DH. That’s a guy you drafted high, and you can keep him in the organization as a hitter.’’
But Sveum’s not sure he’s in favor of adding the DH rule just yet.
‘‘I kind of like it the way it is,’’ he said. ‘‘Obviously, it makes sense now with the new scheduling. But I enjoy the National League game. I enjoy managing the National League game.’’