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A vote for Vogt
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Most teams can't even come up with one fantasy-relevant catcher. The Oakland Athletics have three.

Two of them occupy positions other than catcher in the everyday lineup, but they still have catching eligibility and that's all that matters.

Derek Norris, the man who actually starts behind the plate, made the AL All- Star team this season so fantasy owners should be familiar with him. He's batted .295 with nine homers, 40 RBI, 31 runs and an .868 OPS.

John Jaso, Oakland's everyday DH, has been nearly as good as Norris. Jaso has batted .286 with eight homers, 38 RBI, 37 runs and an .832 OPS.

Then there's Stephen Vogt.

The 29-year-old was a 12th-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays (still masquerading as the Devil Rays) in 2007, he made his debut in 2012 and he joined the Athletics in a trade for cash considerations or a player to be named later in 2013.

Vogt wasn't with the big club in the first two months, but injuries to Josh Reddick and Kyle Blanks opened up a spot for him in the lineup and he's played like a man who doesn't intend to ever go back to the minors.

Vogt has hit .361 with eight doubles, two triples, five home runs, 23 RBI and a .931 OPS in 147 at-bats. He's played 16 games in right field, 15 behind the plate, 13 at first base and one in left field.

It's easy to write this off as a fluke because anytime a 29-year-old career minor leaguer suddenly starts hitting .360 it usually doesn't last. But Vogt could be for real.

He hit .364 with eight doubles, two triples, three homers, a 1.015 OPS and just eight strikeouts over 97 plate appearances with Triple-A Sacramento before his call-up after batting .324 with 13 home runs, a .945 OPS and 45 Ks in 338 plate appearances for Sacramento last season.

Vogt has fanned just 15 times in 155 plate appearances with the Athletics, a minuscule 9.7 percent strikeout rate. Among players with at least 150 plate appearances, Vogt's 7.4 percent swing-and-miss rate is 10th best in all of baseball.

Vogt likely won't hit .361 all season because his .375 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) will drop. His line-drive rate of 21.1 percent, while solid, is not that far above the league average to justify such a high BABIP. He's hit .353 on ground balls.

But with such a low strikeout rate, Vogt should continue to be a legitimate high-average hitter with pop. While that type of player is rare at the catching position, the Athletics have somehow found three of them.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.


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