Friends, there is a great travesty about to occur, something that requires our immediate attention and vigilance. I speak, of course, of the early returns on the MLB All-Star Game. Peep these early results for that position belonging to only the beefiest of dinger-stingers, the Designated Hitter:
Hmm. Okay. Those are some names, for sure, definitely some names. Some names I’m pretty sure are currently on the IL? And one that...is Aledmys Diaz? Ah yes, noted DH Aledmys Diaz and his [checks notes] five home runs on the season. And now let us peep the current FanGraphs leaderboard for the position:
Curiouser and curiouser! Let’s put Austin Meadows and his .395 BABIP aside momentarily, and also Michael Brantley, who has played 47 games in the field for the Astros. Next we arrive at Edwin Encarnación, who, bless his heart, has played over 375 innings this season at first base. The only true king DH among them is the one they call Vogelbach, and yet our sweet dinger-socking Daniel comes in at eighth in the voting. This is unacceptable. It’s untoward. It’s taking-off-shoes-and-socks-on-an-airplane offensive.
But as much as I would like to see Vogey rewarded for his hard work with an All-Star berth, there’s something that’s even more pressing: we, and I cannot stress this enough, need to see Daniel Vogelbach in the Home Run Derby. And while it’s possible to participate in the Derby without being named an All-Star, as Rhys Hoskins and Kyle Schwarber did last year, it lends a little extra weight to one’s consideration for the Derby, especially when the player in consideration is someone who still has rookie eligibility and isn’t one of the sport’s “big” names, or who labors on a cellar-dwelling team, or who plays his home games while the east coast media sleeps. Or all of those things? Also all of those things.
What the Derby needs is this:
And a lot more of this:
Listen, Vogelbach might not have the Statcast numbers of the top-ten leaders in average HR distance (four of whom come from the AL East and get to feast on Orioles pitching regularly). or average exit velocity, but let’s be real: Nelson Cruz isn’t coming to your dog-and-pony show. Trout and Ohtani left their invitations crumpled in the clubhouse trash can Mike Scioscia lives in. It’s Jay Bruce’s week to drive the carpool. Cody Bellinger has tickets to a friend’s improv show and he kind of can’t get out of it even though he really wants to?
Actually, maybe Nelson Cruz will say yes, if he’s allowed to narrate Daniel Vogelbach’s home runs. “Back back back” is played out anyway.
You know who will say yes to the Derby? Daniel “still making league minimum” Vogelbach. This year the Derby winner will take home a cool million, offering Vogey the opportunity to double his earnings for the year in one night.
You know who’s already said yes to the Derby? Luke Voit, who is actively campaigning for a shot at the Derby. Pete Alonso is said to be interested. Vlad Jr. has said “claro que sí” if he’s asked. No idea about Franmil Reyes, but since he once introduced himself with “I’m Franmil Reyes, big fun starts now,” I’m assuming he’s game. This is the class of beefy dinger boy our Daniel belongs with. (Note: these are also young players tasked with finding places to live in three of the US’s most expensive cities, and one of Canada’s.)
But the biggest reason to put Vogelbach in the derby is that every time he swings, there’s the potential for some history to get made. With one swing of his bat, Daniel Vogelbach could create baseball’s next “wow” moment on one of its biggest stages and put an entire room of marketing strategists out of work. Let the kids play? The first rule of writing is show, don’t tell:
Daniel Vogelbach’s resume for the All-Star Game and the Derby is, like the man himself, simple and to the point. It’s just dingers. If it was a restaurant it’d be called JDs, for Just Dingers, and the only thing on the menu would be dingers, no substitutions, cash only. Let Vogelbach do what he was born to do. Put him in the home run derby, cowards.
Or consider yourselves thieves of joy.