Ryan Vogelsong Has Been A Good Starting Pitcher For The Pirates This Year


Ryan Vogelsong has made three starts for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season, and he has been a good starting pitcher in those three starts.

Prior to the start of the season, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed right-handed starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong to a one year contract. When Ryan Vogelsong was signed, the idea was for him to be the Pirates’ starting rotation. However, after a poor Spring Training he began the year in the Pirates’ bullpen.

Ryan Vogelsong has made three starts for the Pirates this season despite beginning the year in the bullpen. His most recent start came on Thursday night against the Atlanta Braves. This was Vogelsong’s first appearance since making a start against the Colorado Rockies in late May. In that start in late May, Vogelsong was hit in the eye with a pitch and had been on the disabled list ever since.

The overall numbers for Ryan Vogelsong this season are nothing special. In 27 2/3 innings pitched he is averaging 7.16 K/9, 3.58 BB/9, 0.98 HR/9, and has a 1.30 WHIP. Despite having a strong 3.25 ERA, Vogelsong’s 4.25 FIP indicates he has not pitched nearly that well. His 4.34 xFIP is also concerning.

However, most of Ryan Vogelsong’s struggles this season have come as a reliever. In a surprising turn of events, Ryan Vogelsong has been very good as a starting pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. And, in my opinion, he has earned the right to remain in the starting rotation for now.

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As a starting pitcher this season, Ryan Vogelsong has pitched 13 innings. In those 13 innings pitched he is holding opposing batters to a .192 batting average against, .223 wOBA, and he has a 0.77 WHIP. Furthermore, he is averaging 9.00 K/9 and just 0.69 BB/9 as a starting pitcher this season.

Also as a starting pitcher this season Ryan Vogelsong has a 2.36 FIP and a 2.77 xFIP. As a reliever, these numbers jump to a 5.92 FIP and a 5.74 xFIP. This also includes Ryan Vogelsong averaging just 5.52 K/9, 6.14 BB/9, and 1.23 HR/9 as a relief pitcher this season.

As a reliever Vogelsong’s opponent batting average against jumps up to .281 from .192. Furthermore, his WHIP increases by one jumping from 0.77 to 1.77. In what is truly a rarity, Ryan Vogelsong’s stuff has been better out of the rotation than it has been out of the bullpen this season.

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As a starting pitcher this season Vogelsong has a 23.5 percent hard contact rate, but this jumps to 41.7 percent as a reliever this season. Vogelsong also has a better ground ball rate (51.5 percent) as a starting pitcher this season than he has as a relief pitcher (41.7 percent). It is not often that a pitchers stuff translate better to the starting rotation than the bullpen, but that has been the case with Ryan Vogelsong this season.

Some pitcher are just better as starting pitcher than relief pitchers. So far this season, Ryan Vogelsong has been one of those pitchers. Right now, I have no problems with Vogelsong remaining in the Pirate rotation. In fact, I want to see him make another start.