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Cub prospect Dan Vogelbach’s amazing disappearing act
MESA, Ariz. – Slugging prospect Dan Vogelbach’s big plans for this season started with thinking small during the off-season.
And so far the results have been huge – as in 30 pounds trimmed from his 6-foot frame.
“I feel much better, I feel looser, a lot more athletic,” said the Cubs’ ninth-ranked prospect (according to Baseball America’s latest ranking), who says he ate better and increased cardio work this winter to get he results. “I feel I can do a lot more things I wouldn’t be able to do the last couple of seasons.”
In early work since he got to the Cubs’ spring complex last month, that has meant more agility defensively around the bag at first and even translated to quicker hands and torso through his powerful swing.
“I’m not tied up on some pitches I used to get tied up on,” said the Cubs’ second-round pick in 2011 who was conservatively listed at 250 pounds on last year’s roster.
The biggest upside to the dramatic downsizing might be the potential for gaining a firmer foothold in his long-range future with the organization.
The knock on the first baseman nicknamed “Vogelbomb” had more to do with lack of defensive prowess that had some projecting his long-term future would be as a designated hitter — not exactly an option with the Cubs.
“I’ve said all along I don’t want to just be a DH,” he said. “I want to play in the field; I want to play first base. I think this helps out, with infielders having confidence in me. And it gives me more confidence around the bag, going to get balls that maybe I wouldn’t go get before. And though I’ve been able to stay healthy throughout the years, this’ll help me with that, too.”
The weight loss hasn’t cost him any strength, said the still solid-looking Vogelbach.
“I got stronger as I lost weight. I kept lifting, and I kept working out,” he said. “I feel like I’ve got more power because I’m a lot looser, and my hands are more free. I’m not as stiff up there.”
After a .284, 19-homer season that began at Class A Kane County and finished in the advanced-A Florida State League finals, that could mean even bigger things at the plate for the smaller version of Vogelbach.
“It’s a huge year,” he said. “Every year’s a huge year. … Last year I had a good year; I didn’t have a great year. I want to have great years. So this is a big year for me to come out and have a better year than last year.”
Vogelbach lost 15 pounds working the first six weeks after the season working with his brother, a personal trainer in Florida. And after spending November in Arizona working at the Cubs facility, he returned home – and still managed to lose another five to seven pounds over the holidays, he said.
“It’s staying focused. It’s not skipping days,” he said. “My brother always says you can rest when you’re dead.”