Daniel Vogelbach entered the Chicago Cubs organization as a power-hitting first baseman who weighed nearly 300 pounds.
Selected in the third round of the 2011 draft, Vogelbach was touted for his tremendous power. He wasn't satisfied with just that; he set sights on becoming a more versatile player.
"I don't want be known as just a guy who only hits home runs," Vogelbach said by phone.
So it was set a goal of Vogelbach's to lose weight, allowing him to become a stronger fielder and a better base-runner.
Vogelbach enlisted the help of his brother, a personal trainer, in assisting him toward shedding pounds. Thanks to daily workouts and forming better dietary habits, Vogelbach currently stands at just 253 pounds.
The results have given Vogelbach the ability to track down balls hit his way, and made him ready to run from first to third. More importantly, he is able to withstand the daily grind of a full baseball season.
"It just helps me in being a complete player," said Vogelbach.
Following the Cubs' spring training, Vogelbach stayed at camp in Mesa where he continued on with the organization's rookie-level team. After a slow start at the plate, Vogelbach made a mental adjustment which guided him to a transformation.
"I was anxious to do too much at the plate," Vogelbach said of his struggles. "I slowed the game down and let it come to me a little bit. I've been seeing the ball really well and putting some good swings down on the ball."
Vogelbach batted .324 with 33 hits in 102 at-bats. Those totals include 12 doubles and even two triples, going with seven home runs. He joined the Cubs' short-season affiliate, the Boise Hawks, where he is hitting .333 with eight home runs and 21 RBI in 19 games.
While Vogelbach has transformed his game, the Cubs have a new look, too. The organization is in rebuilding mode and 23-year-old first baseman Anthony Rizzo, acquired through trade by first-year president Theo Epstein, has been tabbed as the franchise's cornerstone.
The Cubs hope Rizzo can man first base for many years to come, leaving many questions of what Vogelbach's future holds. He's not worried about that right now.
"All I can do is play, all I can do is worry about what I can control; that's how hard I play every day and how I go about my business," Vogelbach said. "The Cubs have Anthony Rizzo and he's obviously a franchise player, an awesome guy, and an even better player. I can't worry about that. I just have to play."
Vogelbach has yet to speak with the Cubs' current front-office brass about his standing in the organization and his future. He isn't looking to a potential position switch, either.
"All I'm doing is working to become the best first baseman I can right now," he said.
As Vogelbach works to become a complete player, he has a figure to model his game after. That would be the Cubs' current first baseman, Anthony Rizzo.
"As a player, I want to stay level-minded, hit for power and average like Rizzo," said Vogelbach. "He's a guy that can change the game with any swing. He can also go 4-for-4 or 0-for-0 with four walks. He's a patient hitter that I want to be."
Vogelbach is striving to become the complete package at first base, working toward his goals each day. Whatever the future holds isn't a concern just yet.