Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Twelve for 2012: Ryan Vogelsong

Ryan Vogelsong was selected by the Giants in the 5th round of the June 1998 draft. He was the 158th player chosen. Aubrey Huff was the 162nd. Andres Torres and Javier Lopez were both taken in the 4th round. Isn't it funny where guys come from and where they wind up? It was not a good time for Giants draft fortunes--Tony Torcato was the team's first pick (#19). The Indians followed with C.C. Sabathia. The 25th pick was also San Francisco's and they selected Nate Bump. Brian Sabean traded him (along with Jason Grilli, also a 1st-rounder, #4 overall in 1997) a year later for Livan Hernandez. That worked out well for the Giants and has to be entered in the ledger as a plus for Sabes. He made another great trade in 2000, sending Vogelsong and Armando Rios to Pittsburgh for Jason Schmidt.

Vogelsong was my favorite story of 2011. He really came out of nowhere and then kicked ass all season long. The standard line is that he can't possibly be that good in 2012. Obsessive Giants Compulsive has the best answer to that--he doesn't have to be. He's our fourth starter, or possibly fifth, depending on Barry Zito. He only has to be better than an average fourth or fifth starter. That I think he will do, and do easily. Fourth and fifth starters aren't very good, and with three aces to start things off I think Vogie can hold his own just fine. Bill James projects him to make 29 starts with a 7.39 K/9 and a 4.01 FIP. That would be sweet! I think it is better than even money that he will have an ERA+ over 100 (it was 132 in 2011, and is 86 for his 500 IP career). FanGraphs lists 50 NL pitchers who qualified for the ERA title (min. 162 IP) last season, and Vogie ranks 27th with 2.4 WAR. Here are some guys who did worse (below 2.0 WAR) than that: Chris Capuano, Wandy Rodriguez, Mike Leake, Brett Myers, Randy Wolf, Ted Lilly, Jake Westbrook, Jason Hammel, Joe Saunders, Tim Stauffer, Aaron Harang, and Bronson Arroyo.

Yeah, I'm glad the Giants are taking their chances with Vogie.



Zo said...

If you would have listened to Krukow during broadcasts who, for all his goofiness, is particularly insightful on pitchers, he can be that good in 2012. He is a skilled craftsman, able to make up for his lack of stuff with pitching acumen. I wouldn't expect league-leading era, but a solid, winning season is more than possible.

Shankbone said...

Zo - great point and I'd add that Vogelsong reminds me of Krukow - making up for lack of stuff with crazy intensity and not giving in.

M.C. O'Connor said...

We call that Veteran Savvy Clutchness here at RMC, and we loves us some VSC.