Monday, June 27, 2011

The Improbable Ryan Vogelsong


If someone says that they saw the performance of Ryan Vogelsong coming, they are either related to him or certifiably insane.

I don't think anyone would have imagined that, on a team that just won the World Series with the strength of its pitching, would see him as one of their most valuable starters.

I don't think anyone would have imagined that Vogelsong, at the end of June, would be just six and a third innings away from qualifying for the National League ERA lead.

I don't think anyone would have imagined that he would be among the top 25 most valuable pitchers in the National League this season. (#10 according to Baseball-Reference and #21 according to Fangraphs)

I don't think anyone would have imagined that there would be serious discussion about him being an All-Star.

These were all improbable but the thing that makes his early season success all the more impressive is it's unprecidented for people not destined for Cooperstown to put up these numbers at his age. Here is the list of people to pitch 70 innings of sub 2.00 ERA in the expansion era at the age of 33 or older:

Rk Player ERA IP Year Age Tm G GS CG SHO W L W-L% H R ER BB SO ERA+
1 Nolan Ryan 1.69 149.0 1981 34 HOU 21 21 5 3 11 5 .688 99 34 28 68 140 195
2 Ryan Vogelsong 1.86 72.2 2011 33 SFG 13 11 1 1 5 1 .833 60 16 15 19 57 200
3 Roger Clemens 1.87 211.1 2005 42 HOU 32 32 1 0 13 8 .619 151 51 44 62 185 226
4 Gaylord Perry 1.92 342.2 1972 33 CLE 41 40 29 5 24 16 .600 253 79 73 82 234 170

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/27/2011.

At this point, there is no need to over analyze this. Lets just enjoy the ride.

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