Stephen Vogt, All-Star. Has a nice ring to it.
Vogt is making a very strong case for himself to get a berth in next month’s showcase game in Cincinnati, including three more hits Saturday and an RBI, his 51st, moving him at least temporarily into a tie with the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera for the American League RBI lead.
Vogt said he doesn’t allow his focus to drift in that direction, but he’s heard the talk.
“It’s awesome to be in that conversation,’’ he said. “I don’t think about it much, but obviously it’s an honor as a major league baseball player. It’s pretty special.’’
Manager Bob Melvin said that Vogt, hitting .293 with 13 homers, along with starting pitcher Sonny Gray and right fielder Josh Reddick, need to be in the conversation. As for Vogt specifically, Melvin can’t sing his catcher’s praises enough, even when Vogt is the DH, as was the case Saturday.
“He’s been as consistent a performer, not only for us, but for anybody in the American League,’’ the manager said. “You try to find ways to get him in there. Today was at DH. He’s hitting lefties; he’s getting big hits for you. You look at his body of work and he’s played as well as anybody in the league.’’
The 51 RBI is not only a single-season high, it matches his previous career total spread over parts of the previous three season with Tampa Bay and, since 2013, with Oakland.
Vogt said it’s just a matter of being the right bat in the right spot.
“I’ve just been feeling good at the plate,’’ he said. “I’ve been hitting behind a lot of guys who are getting on base this year. A lot of guys in this lineup are having great years. I’ve been fortunate to hit behind them.’’
Melvin hasn’t pitched his case yet with AL All-Star manager Ned Yost yet, but it’s likely the subject may come up next weekend with the Royals in town.
“If I feel like I need some input, I’ve done that before,’’ Melvin said about approaching the All-Star skipper, who does get some picks after the fans and the players have their choices. “I think a lot of our guys, the numbers speak for themselves.’’
That would be particularly true of Gray, who continues to lead the AL in ERA at 1.95 despite having his poorest start of the season Friday, giving up six runs (five earned) in six-plus innings. Melvin sees Gray on the short list of candidates to start for the AL.
“There is no question about Sonny,’’ he said. “There are other guys in the conversation, but he certainly has to be there.’’