Sing us a Vogelsong Tonight

Ryan Vogelsong? More like Ryan Vogelsang! Wait, that doesn’t make sense.

Ryan Vogelsong used to be a not-very-good pitcher. From 2000-2006, over 315 innings, he had a 5.86 ERA, gave up 9.9 hits/9, walked 4.4/9 and struck out 6.2/9. That performance was good for 0.2 fWAR. Well below average. Then Ryan Vogelsong went to Japan for 3 seasons, where he was alright, but not worthy of a letter home. I mean, I’m not likely to write a letter home at the best of times, and if I was, it certainly wouldn’t be about Ryan Vogelsong’s stats in Japan. I doubt my parents even know who he is. They would be very confused if I wrote them to tell them about how some guy they’ve never heard of was doing in Japan. Then Ryan Vogelsong came back to the US. Likely by plane. Maybe by boat. He had a 4.81 ERA in AAA in 2010. Then in 2011, Ryan Vogelsong was called up to replace the injured Barry Zito for the San Francisco Giants. Somehow Ryan Vogelsong, who would never before have even been considered average, pitched very well for the Giants for the rest of 2011.

Vogelsong made 28 starts for the Giants in 2011, posting a 2.71 ERA and 3.67 FIP – good for 2.4 fWAR. Maybe he trained to become a witch in Japan, I don’t know. Is witchcraft actually something you can train for? I should really research that. Whatever the case, Ryan Vogelsong went from being a not-good pitcher to a pretty-good pitcher, seemingly in the blink of an eye. If you blink very slowly.

Then, in 2012, over Ryan Vogelsong’s first 21 starts of the season, he put up a league-leading 2.27 ERA. He went at least 6 innings in each start that he made. His success had continued. Then, the Nationals came to town last night. Vogelsong only lasted 2.2 innings, and gave up 9 hits and 8 earned runs. His ERA jumped to 2.72. Rumor has it Melky Cabrera was so disgusted by his performance that he tried to murder him.* What did we learn from this start? I’m not sure, but probably we have learned that Vogelsong is still human. Which is not to completely write off that witchcraft thing, but just that Vogelsong could not sustain his performance forever. It’s only one start, but maybe he’s gone back to not-very-good Vogelsong. Perhaps it had something to do with this piece that ran on Baseball Prospectus yesterday. I don’t know. There was also some shaky defense involved which didn’t help matters. Maybe Vogelsong will dominate for the rest of 2012. No one knows. Except maybe those witches that trained him in Japan.

*Not true.
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