JUPITER, Fla. – FTB Mizuno/Cardinals Scout Team boasts a roster overflowing with Aflac All-Americans and top-50 ranked players.
But it should be noted the team emerging leader is a stocky, heavyset power-hitter who seems to remind everyone of that old newsreel footage you see of Babe Ruth.
First baseman Daniel Vogelbach, a 5-11, 280-pound powder keg from Fort Myers, Fla., is widely considered one of the best power hitters in attendance at the Perfect Game WWBA World Championship, which concludes Monday.
His power-hitting and bulk isn’t the only thing that evokes comparisons to The Babe. He walks and runs in a very similar manner to what you see on those old newsreels, and even his facial features resemble Ruth’s.
Just based on his build, there will also be inevitable comparisons to Prince Fielder as Vogelbach’s career continues.
It is on the field and in the dugout where Vogelbach excels.
“He’s one of the best clubhouse guys you will ever see,” FTB Mizuno/CST coach Jered Goodwin said. “He’s very high energy and he keeps things very loose. When we need to get up and going and when we need someone to step in and cut the tension, he’s who we turn to.”
FTB Mizuno/CST beat Perfect Game Columbia Blue, 10-0, Sunday afternoon to earn a spot in the World Championship playoffs later in the evening. Vogelbach walked three times in the game, scored three runs and stole two bases.
The performance showed that even though Vogelbach seems to walk stiffly and has a lot of weight to carry, he is actually very quick on his feet.
After scoring the first time, he also showed how he keeps thing loose in the dugout. Upon reaching the bench, he pleaded for some Gold Bond medicated power, unbuckled his pants and applied the powder to the affected area.
“I’m chafing!” he said to a group of vastly amused teammates.
“I try to help everyone stay loose and play hard,” Vogelbach said. “We have to play hard or any team here can beat you. But it’s been a priveledge and a lot of fun to play with these guys. We come to the park loose and ready to play hard.”
Vogelbach could be seen exchaning easy banter and laughs on the bench during the game with Aflac All-Americans Tyler Marlette (2011, Oviedo, Fla.), Francisco Lindor (2011, Clermont, Fla.), Henry Owens (2011, Huntington Beach, Calif.), DeShorn Lake (2011, Newport News, Va.) and Jose Fernandez (2011, Tampa, Fla.)
All of those players, and a few others on FTB Mizuno/CST’s roster are ranked higher nationally in Perfect Game’s top prospects rankings than Vogelbach, but the young man is hardly chopped liver. He is ranked 84th nationally and 14th in the state Florida, and has commited to play college baseball at the University of Florida.
At the 2010 Perfect Game National Showcase at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Fla., a Perfect Game scout said this about Vogelbach:
“Superior hitting prospect, sees the ball very well, hands are fast to contact, can drive it out of the park to all fields, smooth extension out front, will hit for power.”
While several players on the FTB Mizuno/CST roster joined the team just for this tournament, Vogelbach and several others have been with the team all year.
“It was the best choice I’ve ever made,” Vogelbach said of joining Mizuno last spring. “I love it here and Coach Goodwin as been like a second father to me.”
Vogelbach, a polite “Yes, sir” “No, sir” young man with a vice grip of a hand shake, will play his final season of high school ball in the spring for Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers. In the fall of 2011, he’ll be heading for Gainesville.
“My first goal is to win a (high school) state championship,” he said, “then I can’t wait to be a Gator.”