Stephen Vogt is on his way to the All-Star Game for the second consecutive year after the A’s catcher was picked as Oakland’s lone representative for the Midsummer Classic.
It’s a somewhat surprising selection given that Vogt’s offensive numbers don’t jump off the page. But Vogt is a very respected game manager behind the plate, and this is a down season stats-wise for American League catchers across the board. Vogt got the call over other A’s candidates such as relievers Ryan Dull and Ryan Madson, outfielder Khris Davis, shortstop Marcus Semien, third baseman Danny Valencia and starting pitcher Rich Hill, who saw his chances take a hit with his recent stint on the disabled list.
Vogt received the news Tuesday afternoon after manager Bob Melvin called him into his office at Target Field. It was a whirlwind experience for Vogt in his first All-Star Game in 2015, when he joined teammate Sonny Gray on the AL squad. He thinks this year he’ll be able to relax and take more time to savor the experience.
“I’m looking forward to enjoying it,” Vogt told CSN Bay Area’s Jim Kozimor on “Sports Talk Live.” “Last year it was so fast-forward for the two days. Now, knowing what to expect, to be able to sit back and enjoy and talk to the players, just enjoy myself, just knowing I do belong there is such a great feeling to have.”
Vogt was a manager’s pick of Royals skipper Ned Yost, who had seven selections as the manager of the AL squad. He is hitting .267 with six homers and just 24 RBI. He’s thrown out 17 percent of base runners, another number that doesn’t stand out. But his batting average ranks second among qualified AL catchers, and his .725 OPS ranks third.
Melvin mentioned last week that one thing Vogt had going for him was name recognition, having been an All-Star last season.
Kansas City’s Salvador Perez will start at catcher for the AL after winning the fan vote. Baltimore’s Matt Wieters joins Vogt as a reserve.
The first person Vogt called Tuesday to deliver the news was his wife, Alyssa, who he credits for talking him into continuing his career in 2010. Vogt was bogged down in the Tampa Bay Rays’ farm system at the time and considering retirement.
He said the AL teammate he was most looking forward to playing alongside is Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who will participate in his 10th All-Star Game in his final season.
“To watch him and see him be honored, it’s really special to get to share the field with someone like that.”
[STIGLICH: Record-setting Dull thrives under pressure]
Dull, a rookie who has been excellent in middle relief, was seen as a possible lead All-Star candidate for the A’s based on his outstanding work with runners on base. It’s always possible he could still be added as an injury replacement. He’s set a major league record by stranding 36 consecutive runners on base to start his season. Madson was another candidate with 16 saves and a 2.83 ERA. And Semien made a big rush with a strong June — his 17 homers lead AL shortstops.
Valencia and Davis both faced tough odds based on the plethora of worthy candidates at third base and in the outfield, respectively.