BY STEVE KRAH
Greg Vogt is doing his best to “bridge the gap” between the player development and mental sides of baseball.
A former pitcher at Carmel (Ind.) High School (2008 graduate) and Anderson (Ind.) University (2012) who has coached at the high school and travel ball levels, Vogt started PRP Baseball in 2018.
The acronym stands for Passion Resilience Process. The mission is to provide “impactful training and mentoring through the process of success on and off the field.”
PRP (@PRPBaseball101 on Twitter and prpbaseball on Instagram) is based inside Finch Creek Fieldhouse in Noblesville, Ind.
PRP offers training year-round for weight training, throwing, hitting and mental game development for players of all ages. Vogt is also the Director of Player Development with the Indiana Nitro.
Vogt has helped major league pitcher Drew Storen with pitch design with video tools like Rapsodo as Storen worked in the off-season with long-time instructor Jay Lehr.
A camera was zoomed in on Storen’s hand for the purpose of viewing his release and how he creates spin on his pitches.
Minor league arms that train in the winter with Vogt include Parker Dunshee (Oakland Athletics organization), Travis Herrin (Los Angeles Angels system), Michael McCormick (formerly in the Chicago White Sox chain) and Reid Schaller (Washington Nationals organization).
Vogt also spent the off-season working with Clayton Richard (Toronto Blue Jays) and Josh Lindblom (Korean Baseball Organization) on developing movement patterns, pitch design and on-ramping for the season.
Lindblom won the KBO version of the Cy Young Award in 2018.
The oldest son of fitness pros Kevin and Tammy Vogt, Greg excelled in high school and college with his drive and desire to be the best he could be. At 5-foot-10 with an 82 mph fastball, he was always trying to gain a competitive edge.
“The work ethic and training component almost came easy to me,” says Vogt. “I was born into it.
“There’s not a coach or teammate I’ve ever played for or with that wouldn’t say I’m the most competitive person on the field.”
Even seven years after he threw his last collegiate pitch, Vogt will join in workouts with his players and try to strike them out.
“I challenged them as much as I could,” says Vogt. “I’ll tried to get after it. I want them to see that I care and that I believe in it.”
Vogt says his players have to believe in themselves to get to reach their goals — be that making the high school varsity or playing collegiate baseball or moving up in the professional ranks.
“We’re getting kids to throw harder and make better pitches — all that good stuff,” says Vogt. “But if they’re always working behind in the count and not throwing with conviction, you can’t use it.”
Vogt says Dunshee is successful because he’s not self-defeating.
“He’s never had plus stuff,” says Vogt of Dunshee, who pitched at Zionsville High School and Wake Forest University before pro ball. “He just doesn’t lose. He’s the best golfer. He’s the best basketball player. He was an all-state quarterback.
“It doesn’t matter what he does, he’s very competitive and he’s good at it. He doesn’t give up a whole lot because he doesn’t beat himself. If I could have every pitcher that I work with have that mentality there would be a lot of guys having success in high school, college and professional baseball.”
Vogt looks to help his PRP clients become well-rounded by providing them with the resources to get better physically and between the ears.
“I’ve seen several kids who are very talented but don’t have that mental game and are prepared for failure in baseball let alone if something goes on outside of baseball,” says Vogt. “A lot of these guys gave trainers that can make them better physically.
“I’ve worked with some very talented arms. I’ve worked with some very talented athletes. The separator is always the mental side. How hard do they work when no one’s watching?. How well do they do when they’re failing?. How do they transition from having a terrible day to they’re great the next day?.
“The kids that are good at everything may not be an exceptional athlete and have exceptional velocity yet, but they mold into a better college kid.”
Besides the baseball skills and strength/agility training, Vogt has his players read books to help them develop the right mindset. Some of his favorite authors/motivators are Justin Dehmer (1-Pitch Warror), Brian Cain (Mental Performance Mastery), Dr. Alan Goldberg (Competitive Advantage) and Todd Gongwer (Lead … for God’s Sake!).
Vogt asks his players about their take on certain points in the books. Mental sessions also cover in-game strategy.
An example: With a left-handed hitter at the plate and a runner on first base, a pitcher is asked to consider like the likelihood of a sacrifice bunt and pitch selection based on what the hitter did in the previous at-bat and more.
“We challenge their psyche on thinking about the game,” says Vogt. “Coaches are calling pitches. Sometimes (pitchers) are not even thinking about what they should throw. They’re throwing what the catcher puts down.
“It’s the same thing in the batter’s box. This guy got me out on a slider away last time. He wasn’t afraid to use it. Does that change (this at-bat)?. On defense, there’s positioning and pitch-to-pitch routines.”
Greg was recruited to Anderson by the same man he who coached his father at that school in football. Don Brandon was a football assistant when Kevin Vogt went there and he convinced Greg Vogt to play baseball for him near the end of his Hall of Fame coaching career.
In fact, Vogt was the winning pitcher as a sophomore for Brandon’s 1,100th and final victory.
“Bama, he had a fire still,” says Vogt of Brandon. “He had a completely different approach than a lot of coaches I had. He would get on you, but he’d also let you fail (repeatedly) while you were learning.
“Whenever he talks, everybody listens. As players, we would run through a wall for him. We loved him.”
David Pressley was Anderson’s head coach at the end of Vogt’s playing days.
Vogt began coaching and giving private lessons while he was in college. He worked with the Indiana Pony Express travel organization. He’s also coached high school age players with the Indiana Baseball Academy Storm and then the Indiana Bulls.
He joined Noblesville High School head coach Justin Keever’s staff in the fall of 2013. The Millers won an IHSAA Class 4A state title in 2014.
Keever taught Vogt about managing players, other coaches, a roster and a schedule.
He also came to appreciate how Keever communicated.
“There’s always a fire burning there,” says Vogt of Keever. “But he’s learned to keep that under control and say things that need to be said but not say too much.
“Between him and (hitting coach) Kevin Fitzgerald, you’ve got a lot of personality and a lot of insight on coaching.”
From Noblesville, Vogt went to work with pitchers at Zionsville on a staff led by Jered Moore.
He’s also been assistant director of scouting for Prep Baseball Report Indiana, VIP co-director of Tucker Vogt Training LLC (with Michael Tucker) and a physical education teacher at Zionsville.
His last game as a coach and before he devoted himself to the training business was the 2016 IHSAA Class 4A state championship, which the Eagles lost to Roncalli.
He has long coached younger brother, Zach Vogt. The Carmel senior has signed to play baseball at Spalding University in Louisville, Ky.
Always growing and adapting, Greg Vogt’s training methods have not stayed the same. They are different than when he was with Noblesville and Zionsville.
“We get set in our ways because we did them as players,” says Vogt. “If you do any training program, you’ll get benefits if you commit to it.
“But the best training program in the world won’t help if you’re only doing it one time a week. All the time you’re spending not training, you’re getting worse. Other guys are getting better because they’re working at it everyday.”
That’s not to say that players are with Vogt all week, but they can take the program with them.
Vogt also wants them to come away more than baseball. He wants them to be better people.
“I want the kids to throw 100 mph. I want them to hit bombs in every at-bat. But this game’s cruel. Injuries happen. Some kids aren’t as gifted. Some kids aren’t as willing to work as hard.
“But maybe there is something else they can take from me?.”
Greg and wife Whitney began dating in high school. The couple have two sons — Parker (3) and Griffen (1).
PRP’s “Bridge the Gap” Coaches Conference is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, July 8-9 at Finch Creek Fieldhouse. Attendees will learn more about player development, recruiting, athlete programming and technology from some of the top college coaches in the Midwest.
Speakers scheduled so far include Jeff Mercer (Indiana University head coach), Mark Wasikowski (Purdue University head coach), Dustin Glant (Ball State University pitching coach), Tracy Archuleta (University of Southern Indiana head coach), Jordan Tiegs (Indiana State University pitching coach), Brian Furlong (Xavier University pitching coach), Grant Bellak (Hanover College head coach), Grant Birely (Purdue Fort Wayne pitching coach), Chuck Ristano (University of Notre Dame pitching coach), Ryan Harber (St. Vincent Sports Performance) and Vogt.
Greg Vogt, a graduate of Carmel (Ind.) High School and Anderson (Ind.) University, is the founder and operator of PRP Baseball (Passion Resilience Process). (Steve Krah Photo)