Stephen Vogt was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in 12th round of the 2007 draft. Since the draft, Vogt has been able to steadily work his way up through the ranks of the Rays’ system, all the way up to AAA Durham; where he currently resides. (This year with Durham, Vogt has posted a .269 batting average, with 9 home runs and 43 RBI’s.)
Earlier this season Vogt received a taste of what it’s like to play in the big leagues, as he spent 10 games with the Rays. Things didn’t go as planned for Vogt, however, as he went hitless in all 17 of his at-bats; though he did put the ball in play in all but 2 of them.
Although his short stint in the Majors didn’t go all that well, Vogt still has a good shot of making it back to the big leagues in the near future, if he can continue to post decent numbers. (Something he’s been able to do fairly consistently throughout his baseball career.) He certainly has the work ethic, and determination to make it happen.
Stephen Vogt–utility man in the Tampa Bay Rays’ organization–took the time recently to answer some of my questions:
1.) At what age did you first become interested in baseball? Who was your biggest baseball influence growing up?
I was always interested in playing baseball from a very early age. I loved playing anytime, all the time. My father and brother helped me the most at a young age.
2.) Who was your favorite baseball player growing up? Why?
Barry Bonds was my favorite player because I was a huge Giants fan and [he] is one of the greatest hitters of all time. Every time I went to watch him play it was the most exciting moment, whenever he stepped in the box.
3.) You were drafted by the Rays in the 12th round of the 2007 draft. What was that process like for you? Where were you when you found out? Initial thoughts?
I was a senior in college and was hoping to just get a chance to play. I was at my parents house with some friends and my wife just waiting to see my name pop up on the computer and fortunately it did.
4.) You made your MLB debut on April 6th of this year. How did you receive the news that you’d been called up? What do you remember from that game?
I was told by our hitting coach in AAA, Dave Myers, that I was going up and I immediately began to shake and just have an overwhelming excitement come over me. I remember getting my name announced with all the great players of the Rays and Yankees and thinking how honored I was to be there. My journey through baseball had so many twists and turns that I was just humbled and honored to be there.
5.) After spending 10 games with the Rays you were sent back down to AAA Durham. What aspect of your game are you currently working on most to hopefully help speed up your journey back to the big leagues?
I am working mostly on my quality of at bats. I learned a lot about hitting in my short stint in the big leagues to know how much more detailed everything has to be. At bats are much different than AAA.
6.) Playing at the Triple-A level, do you feel any more pressure to perform well in every game then you did in the lower ranks of the Rays’ organization, when you weren’t just a phone call away from ‘The Show’?
The only pressure you feel is the pressure you put on yourself. I have to just relax and play the way I know how.
7.) Favorite thing to do on an off day during the season?
Nothing! Honestly the pool and a nice BBQ’d steak for dinner are what make me happy on off days.
8.) Favorite food?
Steak and potatoes.
9.) Favorite TV show?
White Collar and Saved by the Bell.
10.) Lastly, what advice would you give to kids who are just starting out that dream of playing professional baseball one day?
You have to love the game and be dedicated to working everyday to be the best you can be. In a professional season you will get worn out and tired and the love of the game and hard work will get you through any tough times you may have. Also, family will keep you focused on the goal. Without my wife Alyssa’s support I would never be where I am today.
Big thanks to Stephen Vogt for taking the time to answer my questions.
You can follow him on twitter: @SVogt1229