Playing with Pressure

Hayden Simpson and Dan Vogelbach, two of YOUR Boise Hawks, are facing the pressures of being early round draft picks. Simpson was signed in the 1st round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft from Southern Arkansas University and Vogelbach signed out of Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers, Florida in the 2nd round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft.

Certain players grab the attention of the fans for whatever reason. Vogelbach not only grabs the attention because of his ferocious hitting, making even foul balls look good, but also his positive attitude during his interactions with other players.  From the stands it is clear to see that Vogelbach cares about his teammates, how they feel and what they are doing. He is the first one to lift a hand and give a high-five as well as the first to shout words of encouragement when the team or a player is struggling. Rock Shoulders has known Vogelbach longer than anyone on the team, “He is a great, great person. He tries to pick you up when you need it most.” He showed potential for being a great inspiration to others with one of his responses to me, “There might be a bigger target on our back, it might be easier to put the blame on us because we signed for money, but there are no bad things in it, I like being credited for the good and the bad. The goal isn’t to be drafted in a high round; it is to play in the major leagues.” Vogelbach started his career in the Arizona League last year and started this season there as well. He was just moved up to Boise two weeks ago and so far his story here in Boise has been a great one. It didn’t take long for him to hype the fans and prove his batting ability by going 3-4 in his first appearance for YOUR Boise Hawks. Last night the excitement grew farther as he hit his first homerun in a Boise Hawks uniform to bring in 3 runs, one move meeting the expectations for signing in the second round.

Expectations are the biggest pressure point for Simpson. “You have to be perfect all of the time.” Simpson has had eyes on him since college. Originally his sport was football until that ran its course and a talent was found with baseball. Simpson started his journey in Peoria A ball, moved to the Arizona Rookie League that August, started this season with high A Daytona and ended up here in June. The road for Simpson has been a long one. For those who aren’t aware, Simpson fell sick with a bad case of mono just a day after he was drafted. He was out for seven months and had to slowly work his way back into ball. Going from the mentality of being a first round draft pick to having absolutely no strength has been a setback, something that he both mentally and physically had to get over and is still working on. Simpson has had a lot said about him on and off of the field. The expectations of a player drafted in round one are pretty high. When you get as sick as he did, it makes things a lot more complicated. He is now working on gaining all of his strength back and ignoring the bad. “Now that I know what to expect, I have selective hearing, things get misconstrued and people sometimes assume too much.”

I think the two agree that there is the obvious pressure that gets put on anyone who signs for money, but they are both blessed. They’re just two guys, happy to be living their dream.

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