Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 1/6/13
Despite finishing last year with an ERA 66 points higher than 2011, I’d argue that Ryan Vogelsong had a better year in 2012 than in his surprising return to Major League Baseball the year before. His strikeout rate went up, his walk rate went down, he induced more infield flies, he allowed fewer line drives, and he did all of that while tossing 10 more innings for the World Champion Giants. Best of all for Vogelsong, he gets to play in AT&T Park where fly balls magically find outfielders’ gloves more than just about any other park. Statcorner.com rates AT&T as a 66 for right-handed batters and a 69 for lefties in terms of homers, so it shouldn’t be surprising that Vogelsong’s back-to-back seasons with an 8.2% HR/FB rate is 27.4% less than the league average (11.3% in 2012). Fun statistical side note: a park factor of 69 means that park was 31% less homer-friendly than a league average park (100 – 69 = 31), and Vogelsong had a HR/FB rate that was 27.4% lower…see where I’m going with this? It’s fun when separate but related stats makes sense! Nothing in Vogelsong’s player profile, peripheral stats, or past performance suggests a correction is in order, so you can take what you saw last year and pencil those numbers in for 2013.  At a Glance Strengths: ERA, L Neutral: W, WHIP, K, K/9, BB, BB/9, QS Weaknesses: none Player Comparisons Best-case scenario: Jarrod Parker (OAK) Likely scenario: Jeremy Hellickson (TB), Homer Bailey (CIN), Josh Beckett (LAD), Worst-case scenario: Clay Buchholz (BOS) Ryan Vogelsong 2013 Fantasy Projection As long as Vogelong stays healthy, he should have no problem living up to this pre-season ranking. He did rank 96th in 2011 and 122nd in 2012, but tiny drops across the board — down 7 points in ERA, 4 points in WHIP, 1 K, and 1 W — add up to about a 50-spot fall in the rankings. Fluctuation with any of those numbers could have a similarly drastic effect in the overall rankings, but regardless Vogelsong will sit comfortably in the same tier of starting pitchers as Tim Hudson, Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, and similar pitchers.
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