St. John's outfielder Will Vogl signed as a free agent with the hometown New York Mets on Tuesday afternoon and reported to the club's Class-A affiliate Brooklyn Cyclones to begin his professional career. Recently named a third-team All-American by the American Baseball Coaches Association, Vogl became the second Red Storm player to enter the professional ranks this season and the ninth in the last two seasons.
"It's a dream come true," Vogl said. "It's what you look forward to every day as a player, and it's why we all play the game. I'm still a little in shock about it, but I'm ready to get started and help this team win."
Brooklyn is a member of the short-season New York-Penn League and opens its 2006 season at home tonight against former Red Storm catcher Joe Burke and the Staten Island Yankees.
Vogl's unique combination of speed and power culminated in a career season for the Red Storm in 2006. He was among the BIG EAST leaders with a .382 batting average (6th), .691 slugging percentage (2nd), 14 home runs (T2nd), six triples (T2nd), 18 doubles (T6th), 161 total bases (1st), 62 RBI (2nd) and 64 runs scored (3rd), while also stealing 10 bases and playing a quality center field.
As a junior in 2005, Vogl put up strong production numbers and displayed invaluable offensive and defensive versatility. He played all three outfield positions, hit from seven different positions in the Red Storm lineup and ranked second on the team with six home runs, 22 extra-base hits and 10 stolen bases. He made remarkable progress in 2006, becoming a more patient (nearly twice as many walks) and better contact hitter (average went from .259 to .382) and gave St. John's one of the most explosive leadoff hitters in the nation.
The 5-foot-9, 175-pound outfielder joins former Red Storm pitcher Jim Wladyka, who also signed as a free agent and went on to become the rookie-level Kingsport Mets' Pitcher of the Year in 2005, in the New York Mets organization.