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Stephen Vogt

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Stephen Guy Vogt

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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 team's 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.

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