Stephen Vogt

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Stephen Guy Vogt

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Biographical Information[edit]

Outfielder Stephen Vogt reached the majors with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012.

Vogt hit .476 as a college senior (.448 overall at Azusa Pacific University) and was named a NAIA All-American. He was selected by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 12th round of the 2007 amateur draft (the scout was Jake Wilson) and made his pro debut that summer, hitting .300/.371/.383 in 70 games for the Hudson Valley Renegades. He was 5th in the New York-Penn League with 48 RBI, between Manuel Rodriguez and Casper Wells.

With the Columbus Catfish the following summer, he started the season slowly, but he hit .360 with 5 home runs after the All-Star break to end the year with a .291/.368/.408 batting line and 6 homers overall. He did not have a set position, appearing in at least 15 games in left field, catcher and first base.

Playing for the Charlotte Stone Crabs early in the 2009 campaign, he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury after going 6 for 35 with two doubles and two walks in 10 games. However, he managed to get into one game later in the season... as an umpire. During an August Stone Crabs game, home plate umpire Matt Cunningham was injured after being struck by a pitch. Vogt, who had umpired Little League ball, volunteered to step in, and both teams' managers agreed.

Vogt bounced back in 2010, hitting .345/.399/.511 with 31 doubles for the Stone Crabs while winning the Florida State League batting crown by 22 points over Erik Komatsu. He still did not have a set position, playing DH, catcher, left field and first base. In addition to his batting title, he led the FSL in slugging (36 points over Melky Mesa) and OPS (55 points over Komatsu). He was second in OBP, 14 points shy of Komatsu. He tied Komatsu and Quincy Latimore for 6th in the FSL in two-baggers. He was named the FSL All-Star DH.

He began 2011 with the AA Montgomery Biscuits and hit .301/.344/.487 in 97 games before being promoted to the AAA Durham Bulls in late July (.290/.305/.516 in 31 games there), hitting .298 with 35 doubles, 105 RBI and 17 home runs (he had 18 in his first 4 seasons) and 105 RBI between the two clubs. He led the Tampa Bay chain in RBI, with the 4th-highest total in franchise annals to that point. Despite his promotion to Durham, he tied Alfredo Silverio for 5th in the Southern League in RBI, was 9th in average (between Alex Romero and Tyler Pastornicky) and was 9th in slugging (between Kyle Russell and Ben Lasater). He was named the SL All-Star catcher despite playing only 44 games behind the dish for Montgomery. He was named the Rays Minor League Player of the Year.

He made the Rays' Opening Day roster in 2012 and made his big league debut against the New York Yankees on April 6th, striking out as a pinch-hitter against pitcher David Robertson in his only at-bat. He was 0 for 13 for Tampa Bay before being sent back to Durham; B.J. Upton took his roster spot. He spent the remainder of the year at Durham, hitting .272/.350/.424 in 94 games. He went to spring training with the Rays in 2013, but could not make the team and on April 6th, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics for future considerations. He started the year with the AAA Sacramento RiverCats, then was called up to Oakland at the end of June. After going 0 for 6 in his first two games, he finally managed his first career hit on June 28th, and it was a home run off Joe Kelly in the 4th inning of a 6-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals; the hit came after 32 fruitless at-bats and 35 unsuccessful plate appearances. Once that first hit was finally out of the way, Vogt played a lot better, finishing the season at.252/.295/.400 in 47 games; he hit 6 doubles and 4 homers and drove in 16 runs. Because of injuries to the A's other catchers - Derek Norris and John Jaso - he got a chance to start in the postseason; he went 3 for 16 with a triple in 5 games as the Athletics lost the ALDS to the Detroit Tigers.

Vogt played a full season in 2014 and put up some good numbers, hitting .279 with 10 doubles, 9 homers and 35 RBIs in 84 games for an OPS+ of 112. However, he played his last game as a catcher on July 7th because of a muscle tear in his right foot, spending the remainder of the year at first base and as a designated hitter. In the Wild Card Game against the Kansas City Royals on September 30th, he started the game at first base and went 0 for 3 with a walk before being pinch-hit for by Nate Freiman in the 10th inning when the Royals brought in lefty reliever Brandon Finnegan. He then followed that with two very good seasons in 2015 and 2016. The first year, he hit .261 in 136 games with 18 homers and 71 RBIs and was named to the All-Star team for the first time. He then followed that with a .251 average, 30 doubles, 14 homers and 56 RBIs, and returned to the Midsummer Classic.

It was therefore a shock when less than three months into the 2017 season, he was designated for assignment on June 22nd. Granted, neither he nor the team were playing particularly well, as the A's were in last place and he was hitting only .212 with 4 homers and 20 RBIs, but it was still a shock to see a player who was considered to be a pillar of the team dumped so unceremoniously, especially as Oakland did not have an obvious back-up plan, calling up a minor league veteran, 26-year-old Bruce Maxwell, to take his place. He had lost playing time to Josh Phegley in large part because his OBP, which had been as high as .341 in 1915, had fallen below .300. The A's were busy getting rid of unproductive veterans at that point, having let go 3B Trevor Plouffe just a week before. On June 25th, he was claimed off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers, who sent down Jett Bandy to make room on the roster for him, indicating he would be the main back-up for starter Manny Pina. It did not take him long to justify his presence on the Brewers, as on June 30th, he hit a pair of homers and driving in all three runs in a 3-2 win over the Miami Marlins. He hit .254 in 45 games with Milwaukee with 8 homers and 20 RBIs. In 2018, he was slated to share starting duties with Pina, but missed the entire season with a shoulder injury that required surgery in May. Veteran minor league journeyman Erik Kratz replaced him and took full advantage of the opportunity, becoming a modern-day folk hero with his prowess in the postseason as the Brewers made it all the way to Game 7 of the NLCS. He became a free agent after the season, as the Brewers were not prepared to keep him on the 40-man roster when his return date from surgery was still up in the air, but unlikely to be before the middle of the following year.

He did return in 2019, now with the San Francisco Giants. He missed just the first month, playing his first game on May 3rd, and ended up playing 99 games while sharing catching duties with Buster Posey. He had a very good season, hitting ,263 with 24 doubles, 10 homers and 40 RBIs, and an OPS+ of 110. He became a free agent again after the season and signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but 2020 did not go as planned. That was the season that was cut to 60 games by the coronavirus pandemic, and Stephen never got going, hitting just .167 in 26 games as the back-up to Carson Kelly. He was back in the same role in 2021, when Kelly got off to a great start. He was biding his time until Kelly was injured in May, putting him in the starting line-up. This coincided with the D-backs, who were hanging on around .500 at the time, starting a free-fall during which they set a record for most consecutive road losses and ended up with the worst record in the majors at the All-Star break. Vogt was not one of the worst culprits, as he hit .212 in 52 games with an OPS+ of 88, but his production was well below what Kelly had been providing. In any case, he was one of the first players to be dealt as the D-Backs began to clean house before the trading deadline, being sent to the Atlanta Braves on July 16th in return for minor league 1B Mason Berne. The Braves had been decimated by injuries, including a very costly one to starting C Travis d'Arnaud, who was still weeks away from returning.

He announced toward the end of the 2022 season, which he spent back in Oakland, that it would be his last one as an active player. In his final game, on October 5th, the Athletics arranged for his children to announce him on the public address system as he came to bat for the first time. That was an emotional moment, but not as much as in the 7th inning, when he homered off Zack Weiss of the Los Angeles Angels in the final at-bat of his ten-year career. He ended the year at .161 in 70 games, with 7 homers and 23 RBIs.

In 2023, he joined the Seattle Mariners as bullpen and quality control coach. On November 6th that year Vogt was hired as manager of the Cleveland Guardians for 2024, replacing the iconic Terry Francona who had announced his retirement at the end of the recently-completed season. While he had played for a number of major league teams, Cleveland was not one of them, but he explained that he had wanted to become a manager for a long-time, even when he was still playing and had long reflected about a manager's role. Going into coaching had been a path towards that goal, and he had thrown his hat in the ring when a number of managerial openings had appeared at the end of the 2023 season.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time AL All-Star (2015 & 2016)

Preceded by
Terry Francona
Cleveland Guardians Manager
Succeeded by

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs
2024 Cleveland Guardians American League Cleveland Guardians

Further Reading[edit]

  • Mandy Bell: "Former catcher Stephen Vogt named next Guardians skipper",, November 6, 2023. [1]
  • Mandy Bell: "Vogt arrives in Cleveland with plenty of personality: '100% extrovert'",, November 10, 2023. [2]
  • Mandy Bell: "Pop quiz! How well does Vogt know Vogt?",, March 11, 2024. [3]
  • Martin Gallegos: "Vogt's emotional farewell 'everything I could dream of': Catcher slugs HR in final at-bat of 10-year career in A's season finale",, October 5, 2022. [4]
  • Daniel Kramer: "Vogt highlights Seattle's '23 coaching moves: Mariners add 10-year catching veteran as bullpen and quality control coach",, January 10, 2023. [5]
  • Sarah Langs: "Vogt's debut as manager will be a rare -- and full-circle -- moment",, January 22, 2024. [6]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "Oakland A's dump beloved All-Star catcher Stephen Vogt", USA Today Sports, June 22, 2017. [7]
  • Mark Whicker: "Athletics' Stephen Vogt: Once undrafted, now indispensable", USA Today Sports, June 19, 2015. [8]

Related Sites[edit]