Perhaps the biggest surprise for the Giants this season came from a 34-year-old who grew up rooting for San Francisco. Catcher Stephen Vogt had one of the best seasons of his career, after not even playing in the major leagues in 2018.
Vogt suffered a possible career-ending shoulder injury while on a minor league rehab assignment as part of the Brewers in May 2018. He battled his way back and signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February.
The former two-time All-Star for the A's hit .241 with three homers and an .889 OPS in 17 games with Triple-A Sacramento. The veteran catcher was even better once he was called up to the Giants.
Vogt played in 99 games for the Giants, serving as a perfect backup spot starter behind the dish and bat off the bench. He even played a little bit of left field. The versatile left-handed hitter finished with a .263 batting average (his highest since 2014), a .490 slugging percentage (career high), .804 OPS (career high) and 10 home runs.
His 1.2 bWAR was the sixth-highest of all Giants position players.
After resurrecting his career, Vogt, who now is a free agent, has championship aspirations for his next team.
Stephen Vogt is being interviewed on MLB Network Radio right now and says he wants to play somewhere he can win a World Series in 2020.— McCovey Chronicles (@McCoveyChron) October 29, 2019
“I want to go somewhere where I have the opportunity to win a World Series,” Vogt, who turns 35 on Friday, said Tuesday on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, via KNBR. “That’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. I’m really looking forward to hopefully having opportunities to do that.”
That might not bode well for a possible return to San Francisco. As NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic put it Wednesday night after the Nationals won the World Series, the Giants have a long list of question marks going into the offseason.
Welcome to the offseason. The Giants just have to hire a manager, a GM, find their closer, find hitters who can handle Oracle Park, and figure out what to do with Madison Bumgarner. pic.twitter.com/09mh8xgfP6— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) October 31, 2019
Vogt likely doesn't have many years left in his playing career. He's one of the most liked clubhouse presences in the game, though, and proved he can still hit in the big leagues. Any contender could use him, despite his age and inability to throw out runners attempting to steal second or third base.
With top prospect Joey Bart on the way and the Giants hoping a healthy offseason will get Buster Posey back on track, it could be hard to get Vogt his desired, and earned, at-bats in 2020. In a perfect world, he would return and be used off the bench and as help in the squat and possibly even left field and first base, while serving as a mentor for San Francisco's young players.
Don't count on that, though. Vogt wants a ring. The odds don't favor the Giants going to a jeweler next year, at least not right now.