By Todd Johnson
When I first saw Jason Vosler it was in 2015 at South Bend, all I could think of was Mark Grace. That was not a comp for his swing, rather it was the fact that Vosler originally did not wear batting gloves his first couple of years in the system. This year, he has them on and is having his best start as a Cubs prospect.
Fangraphs is one site that loves Vosler. Carson Cistulli stated:
Over the first month of his 2017 campaign, Vosler has continued producing his characteristically strong contact rates. He’s also recorded his typical marks at third base. As for the power, however, it has been something much better than “non-negligible.” After recording only three homers over 483 plate appearances last year while splitting time between High-A and Double-A, Vosler has already hit seven home runs in 2017. The result? The absolute highest isolated-power figure among qualified Double-A batters.
Great Feel for the Zone
Short, quick stroke
Power to all fields
Areas of Concern
Hitting for Average
Heading into 2017
For the better part of three seasons, Vosler had flashed the ability to hit for power at certain times. I was surprised in 2015 when he was promoted mid season from South Bend to Myrtle Beach. At the time, I did not think he had done anything to warrant a promotion. He proved me wrong by slugging .441 the rest of that summer.
In 2016, he returned to Myrtle Beach for half of summer and moved up at the same time as Jeimer Candelario did from Tennessee to Iowa. Vosler flashed powered from time to time but his batting average was still stuck between .240 and .250 most months. The 10 home runs he hit in 2015 dwindled to just three for the entire 2016 season.
In May, Vosler is hitting over .329 with a slugging percentage of .481. For the year he is hitting .305 with seven homeruns and 29 RBI.
Right now, I am cautiously optimistic about his season. While he did hit five home runs in April, he has only hit two so far in May, but his batting average increased by over 100 points this month. His on base percentage is now over .400. For three of the four previous seasons, it was usually in the mid-.300s.
Along with Daniel Spingola, Vosler has improved greatly at the plate. He will more than likely make the Cubs Central All-Star team and end up as a runner-up for Hitter of the Month to Victor Caratini or Chesny Young. That is nothing to sneeze at but I would like to see Vosler replicate those stats in June before I fully jump on his bandwagon. I don’t see any reason why he should not be able to do so. He is well known as a student of the game. I am really looking forward to his June.
I see some future for Vosler as a Cub. However, he does play a position where he is blocked by two people already. In order to move up, Vosler is going to have to make himself stand out even more. That could include becoming more versatile and a consistent force at the plate.