OAKLAND, Calif. -- Former Azusa Pacific catcher Stephen Vogt rewrote the Cougar Baseball record books during his four-year collegiate career. Just over a decade after setting foot on campus, Vogt is set to become the first player in program history to start in a Major League Baseball playoff game, as the Oakland Athletics are expected to start Vogt against Detroit Tigers ace Max Scherzer Friday night in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
Vogt, one of seven former Cougars to reach the big-league level, hit .252 with four home runs in 47 games with Oakland this year, and he faces a Detroit pitching staff which he registered four hits in 11 at-bats against this season.
The only other player from Azusa Pacific to play in an MLB playoff game was right-handed pitcher Jeff M. Robinson, who pitched a third of an inning during Game 5 of the 1987 AL Championship Series against Minnesota, which clinched the ALCS that game and went on to win the World Series that year.
Originally drafted by Tampa Bay in 2007 and named the 2011 Rays Minor League Player of the Year, Vogt was traded to Oakland in early April. A career .299 hitter in the minor leagues, Vogt was initially sent to Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate, Sacramento, where he batted .324 with 13 home runs, 21 doubles, and 58 RBIs in 296 at-bats.
During a brief Major League callup as an injury replacement in late June, Vogt collected his first career MLB hit, a solo home run in a 6-1 victory over St. Louis. After three more weeks in Triple-A, Vogt was called up for good in late July.
In Vogt’s first 8 games as Oakland’s starting catcher, the A’s were a perfect 8-0, and over the course of the year they went 26-13 in games when Vogt was in the starting lineup. In late August, Vogt started in the first two games of a four-game series with Detroit, leading the A’s to a 3-1 series win, which was followed by a three-game sweep of the Rays in which Vogt also started twice. He hit safely in all five games he played that week against teams that ended up in the AL Playoffs.
Oakland’s five-game AL Division Series matchup with Detroit begins with Friday night’s Game 1 in Oakland at 6:30 p.m., with Game 2 set for Saturday at 6:00 p.m. The series shifts to Detroit Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 7-8. If necessary, Game 5 will be played in Oakland on Thursday, Oct. 10.