Eric Sogard

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Eric Sidney Sogard
(Nerd Power)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Eric Sogard came to the majors in 2010. His brother Alex Sogard made his pro debut the same year. A cousin, Nick Sogard, is also a professional player.

Sogard was named his team's MVP as a high school sophomore after hitting .418. His junior year, he hit .547 with 34 RBI in 64 AB and a 1.047 slugging percentage, winning 4A All-State honors. He fell to .450 as a senior and again was 4A All-State. He set school records for career hits (115), average (.466) and OBP.

As a college freshman, Sogard was just 4 for 22. He had a solid summer with the Liberal BeeJays at .347/.436/.516. As a sophomore, Eric improved to .353/.432/.625. He was third in the Pacific-10 Conference in slugging and tied Ike Davis for the team lead with nine homers. He made All-Conference as an infielder. In the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League that summer, he led with a .347 average, 38 walks and a .513 OBP. Baseball America named him the league's #5 prospect.

Sogard continued to improve his junior year, batting .394/.489/.623 with 17 steals and 74 runs. Baseball America named him second-team All-American at second base behind Tony Thomas. He then went 7 for 14 in the 2007 College World Series. He was second in the Pac-10 in average, .004 behind leader Brett Wallace and was one run behind Wallace as well. He was named All-Conference at second and was named the Pac-10 defensive player of the year.

Eric was taken by the San Diego Padres in the second round of the 2007 amateur draft with a pick that was compensation for the loss of Woody Williams to free agency. He was signed by scout Dave Lottsfeldt and had an unimpressive pro debut, split between the Eugene Emeralds (.256/.354/.376), Fort Wayne Wizards (.253/.308/.349) and Portland Beavers (0 for 3, BB, 3 K).

With the 2008 Lake Elsinore Storm, the Phoenix native improved to .308/.394/.453 with 16 steals in 23 tries, 42 doubles, 97 runs and 87 RBI. He then batted .467 with 10 runs and six RBI in seven playoff games. He led the California League in doubles,was second in hits (trailing Cedric Hunter by 21), was second in walks (79, 2 behind John Whittleman), was third in runs (97, four behind Chris Carter) and fourth in RBI and OBP. He also led the league's second basemen in fielding (.973), putouts (200), assists (348) and double plays (58). He led Padres prospects in doubles. He was named the California League's All-Star second baseman. He was 6th in the affiliated minors in doubles.

With the San Antonio Missions in 2009, Sogard remained strong at .293/.370/.400 with 79 runs. He was 9th in the Texas League in average and led the loop's second sackers in putouts (223) and errors (15). He lost out All-Star honors to Daniel Descalso.

In January 2010, the Padres dealt Sogard and Kevin Kouzmanoff to the Oakland Athletics for Scott Hairston and Aaron Cunningham. He batted .300/.391/.407 with 75 walks and 82 runs for the Sacramento River Cats, earning a September call-up to the majors.

In his bis league debut, Eric pinch-hit for Mark Ellis in the 4th against Zack Greinke. He drew a walk. After staying in the game at second base, he was retired his next time up, then singled off Dusty Hughes for his first MLB hit.

He played 6 seasons for the Athletics from 2010 to 2015. He played over 100 games in each of the last three of these and was the A's most-used player at second base all three seasons. In 2014 and 2015, he made only scant contributions with the bat, however, hitting .223 and .247 respectively, with little power; his OPS+ was 64 and 68 those two years, not enough production even for a player with a strong glove like him. He missed most of the 2016 season recovering from knee surgery, only playing a couple of games in Class A with the Stockton Ports. He then signed as a free agent with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2017. He began the year in the Pacific Coast League with the Colorado Springs SkySox, where he was hitting .330 in 24 games when he got the call back to the majors on May 12th. He continued to wield a scorching-hot bat for Milwaukee, as he homered on the day of his call-up, then, after connecting for a second homer, had the first two four-hit games of his career in the span of three days on May 16th and 18th. After 6 games he was hitting .588 and slugging 1.118! Obviously, he could not sustain that pace, but he did hit .273 in 94 games, with an OPS+ of 102. In 2018, however, he was hitting only .134 after 55 games when the Brewers decided to have him designated for assignment on July 5th, when fellow back-up infielder Tyler Saladino came off the disabled list. He did not play again in the majors that season.

He resurfaced in 2019 with the Toronto Blue Jays. He had been signed in the off-season to provide organizational depth in the infield, and it proved to be a good move as an injury to Devon Travis and defensive struggles by Lourdes Gourriel opened a spot in the major league squad on April 15th. He took full advantage of the opportunity, as he collected 13 hits in his first 8 games, for a .394 average. He was not just hitting singles, either, as these included a pair of doubles and a pair of homers. Manager Charlie Montoyo had him hitting lead-off and starting at second base. On April 26th, the date when super prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. made his debut, he led off the bottom of the 1st with a homer off Mike Fiers of the Oakland Athletics, the first time of his career he had led off a game with a long ball. He did again two days later, again against the A's, with Chris Bassitt the victim; in between, he drove in a run with a perfect squeeze bunt in the middle game of the series. He was thus one of the team's most productive players as the trading deadline approached, hitting .300 with 10 homers and 45 runs in 73 games, and on July 28th was sent across the field before a game with the Tampa Bay Rays, joining a contender.

Demonstrating his versatility and willingness to do anything that is needed to help his team, he was used as a mystery pitcher no fewer than five times during the first half of the 2021 season with the Chicago Cubs.


Further Reading[edit]

  • Nick Ashbourne: "Eric Sogard is a hitter out of a different era", Yahoo Canada Sports, April 27, 2019. [1]

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