Tuesday morning, the Pirates found their DH for the 2022 season in Daniel Vogelbach. Vogelbach signed a $1 million deal with a second-year option at $1.5 million. It’s a very Pirate-friendly price for a mainstay at a brand new position in their league. Let’s take a look at Vogelbach a little here.
Batting left-handed, the 6′ foot 270 lb Vogelbach has faired much better against right-handed pitchers. Over his career, Voegelbach slashed .228/.357/.442 with an OPS of .798. Out of his career 49 home runs, Vogelbach has hit 46 against right-handed pitchers and has drawn his fair share of walks against them too.
Lefties are a whole different story for Vogelbach. The behemoth of a man has a career slash line of .135/.256/.255 and an OPS of .511 against southpaws.
Now we need to ask, who will be the DH when the Pirates are faced against a lefty? Do we throw Vogelbach out there? Probably not, but there are some other options to fill that void.
One of the more obvious candidates, Tsutsugo, isn’t what you call graceful when it comes to defense. Sure, you can hide him at first base, but you can only get away with that for so long *cough *cough Josh Bell *cough *cough.
In 103 at-bats, Tsutsugo has shown he can hang in there against lefties, despite being a lefty himself. Tsutsugo slash line reads .252/.310/.427 with an OPS of .737. Out of his 16 career home runs, Tsutsugo has hit four against his fellow southpaws. In a perfect world, you’d have a better option, but Tsutsugo will suffice.
Chavis has shown more defensive ability than Tsutsugo or Vogelbach, but he is another good option to face lefties when need be. The former first-round pick in 2014 has had 209 career at-bats against lefties. In those 209 at-bats, Chavis’ slash line reads .234/.260.464 with an OPS of .724.
One of the more eye-catching things is his platoon splits with home runs, even Steven. 13 homers against righties and 13 homers against lefties. The right-handed Chavis will get some playing time unless more moves or injuries happen, and the DH will be the reason that is.
Hear me out here; YES, we want to see Cruz in the field and use that gift of an arm he has, but he needs at-bats at the major league level, and the DH could be just the ticket. Mind you, this is when Cruz will need a light day of work, and the Pirates still want to give him some playing time.
In 2021 Cruz had a very limited sample size against lefties in the minors, but in those 73 at-bats, he showed he could more than handle his own. Cruz slashed .356/.397/.630, had an OPS of 1.028, and even hit five out of his 18 homers against lefties. Yes, it was a small sample size in the minors, and the majors are a different animal, but those numbers are eye-popping.