3. 1B/DH Daniel Vogelbach
This is a tough situation for all involved. Daniel Vogelbach is a fan favorite, he’s a clubhouse favorite, and he’s a very good hitter. The Brewers have stated that Vogelbach’s best position is “hitter”, which is great for when you have the DH at your disposal. The Brewers had that last year, but a DH doesn’t appear in the cards for 2021.
With Keston Hiura playing first base full time in 2021, and Travis Shaw being a capable backup with better defense at first base, Vogelbach is really kind of out of options for playing time. On top of that, he’s out of options to the minor leagues.
Despite there not being much of a job for him at first base, the Brewers have been willing to carry extra first basemen in the past.
But with Aguilar and Choi, both of them had strong spring training performances. Aguilar, in 2017, hit .452/.521/.855 with seven homers to force his way on the roster. Choi, in 2018, hit .409/.518/.727 with three homers, 10 walks, and just three strikeouts in the Cactus League.
But Vogelbach, in 2021, is hitting just .250/.400/.464 with one home run. It’s not bad, but it’s not force-your-way-onto-the-roster good.
Vogelbach has never been one to hit for a high batting average, but he did so in the second half of the 2020 season. If he found something there that would lead him to sustained offensive success, the Brewers needed to see it here in spring training to keep his roster spot without a DH. If the DH was here, Vogelbach would be a no-brainer for the roster. Without it, he could be out of a job.
Craig Counsell and David Stearns are still holding out hope there could be a last minute agreement that allows a DH to be used in the National League in 2021, which would allow them to keep Vogelbach. But if that rule change doesn’t arrive, Vogelbach won’t be long for this Brewers 40 man roster.
They could try to stash him after a week or so into the season and sneak him through waivers like they probably will with Nottingham, but Vogelbach likely stands a little higher chance of being claimed on waivers.
These three players are out of minor league options and don’t have a big league job locked up with their spring performances, which puts them in jeopardy of losing their 40 man roster spots with the Brewers very soon.