SAN DIEGO -- Turbulent times have fallen on the A's since their 2014 postseason departure, and only so many players have been on board for the entirety of the ride. Stephen Vogt isn't only one of those few constants: the catcher has been the calm in their storm.Vogt is the
SAN DIEGO -- Turbulent times have fallen on the A's since their 2014 postseason departure, and only so many players have been on board for the entirety of the ride. Stephen Vogt isn't only one of those few constants: the catcher has been the calm in their storm.
Vogt is the glue of a clubhouse that's seen a bevy of players come and go; the leader of a team that's been hanging around the bottom of the American League West since the start of the 2015 season.
So forgive Vogt if his numbers, by themselves, aren't exactly All-Star worthy this season. His value extends well beyond the stats, and in selecting the catcher as an AL All-Star for a second consecutive season, AL manager Ned Yost rightfully recognized this.
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"Last year felt like I really should be here with the year I was having," Vogt said. "This year, I'm not having the year I had last year, but I think that the overall package, all sides of the game, kind of played into this one. So I think it feels a little more special.
"Offense is huge, but it's not the only thing. Offense, defense, clubhouse presence and just leadership, I think all of that encompassed into one thing is the reason that I'm here, and that to me makes it mean more. Obviously home runs and RBIs are nice, and I wish I had more, but it really is just very meaningful for me to be here to represent the A's."
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Vogt, a reserve on the AL team, had 14 home runs and 56 RBIs at this time last year. He's mustered seven homers to this point, and only 27 RBIs, to go along with a .277 batting average. Last season, he carried a .287 average into the All-Star break.
Still, Vogt is a solid lineup anchor, and his worth as a batterymate cannot be overstated.
"He does such a good job behind the plate," said former teammate and Cubs pitcher Jon Lester. "I just think the leadership he provides behind the plate is his best asset. He does such a good job of controlling that pitching staff and really the team. Now, knowing that team and looking back, you can tell what he brings behind the plate."
"He's one of the best teammates I've had," added Toronto's Josh Donaldson. "Always has a very positive outlook on things, and he's one of those guys who's really had to grind to get to where he's at today. For this being his second All-Star Game shows a lot of the work that he's put in. I'm very happy for Vogt for the simple fact that he's a great person, and he's really put a lot of work into what he's doing."
Vogt, 31, didn't make his big league debut until age 27, but he never allowed his circumstances to dictate his attitude. The same can still be said during a difficult time for the A's, who closed out the first half with a 38-51 record, sitting 15 1/2 games out of first place in the AL West.
"To have consistent leadership in the clubhouse means something, because we lost a lot after '14, and we're still seeing the effects of it," Vogt said. "We're all going to have good days, we're all going to have bad days. It's who you are when you're struggling [that counts].
"It's easy to be rah rah for your teammates and have your teammates' backs when you're hitting .300 with a lot of production, but you have to be the same guy in the clubhouse every day, and I try and take pride in that."
It doesn't go unnoticed.
"Vogter's a life-giver to the clubhouse," said the Cubs' Ben Zobrist, who began last season with Oakland. "He's one of those guys that brings a positive attitude and brings some humor and some excitement every day to the clubhouse. And you're not just getting a good clubhouse guy with him, you're getting a great player. He brings the energy level of everybody up both on the field and off the field.
"You have to have at least two or three of those guys on every team. They don't list that as a position on the team, but it really is that important."
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.