July 3, 2017
The Vogelsong Awards: June
This monthly award is named in honor of Ryan Vogelsong who, in 2011:
2. Tied for the 12th-most wins in the league and the seventh-best winning percentage
3. Was an All-Star (didn’t appear) and tied for 11th in the Cy Young voting (one fifth-place vote)
4. Did not appear in the Baseball Prospectus Annual
For more detail on the award, click here.
The Vogelsong Award goes to the best hitter and pitcher who were given little or no attention in the Annual. There are two types of Vogelsong Awards. Full Vogelsongs are awarded to players who aren’t mentioned in the Annual at all. Lineout Vogelsongs go to players whose Annual entry is limited to a short Lineout description given to less prominent players. Prior winners (see list below) and foreign players who signed after the Annual’s deadline are ineligible for the award.
Enough suspense. Here are the winners.
JUNE FULL VOGELSONG PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Tyler Moore, Miami Marlins. Drafted way back in 2008, Moore was featured in the Annual every year from 2011 to 2016. But after a 2016 in which Moore, then a 29-year-old first baseman in the Braves system, hit .229/.276/.375 in 25 games at Triple-A Gwinnett, he didn’t make the cut in 2017. That wasn’t an unreasonable decision, given that he turned 30 in January and had hit .228/.281/.401 to that point in 649 major-league plate appearances, none since 2015.
He signed with the Marlins as a minor-league free agent prior to the season and broke camp with the club, but was designated for assignment in April after just 11 plate appearances. He cleared waivers and was assigned to New Orleans, where he played 13 games before returning to Miami. He became the team’s primary first baseman when Justin Bour hit the 10-day disabled list in early June, starting 12 games in the month and appearing in nine others.
In 55 plate appearances, he hit .294 with a .327 on-base percentage, and a majority of his 21 hits went for extra bases (five doubles, six homers), giving him a .667 slugging percentage. His .994 OPS during the month led the club and was 17th in the National League among 139 players with 50 or more plate appearances. He’s also the first Full Vogelsong Player of the Month in 2017 who had legitimately good numbers; the others were the best of very thin fields. So even though he’s been displaced in the lineup by Bour, who’s nearly a year and a half younger, he can still bask in the afterglow of his award for June.
JUNE FULL VOGELSONG PITCHER OF THE MONTH: Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Texas Rangers. A 32-year-old rookie, in his 12th professional year, pitching for his sixth organization ... yeah, that’s the profile of your typical Vogelsong Award winner.
It’s worth noting that there’s not much in Bibens-Dirkx’s June that seems sustainable: He struck out only 12 percent of the batters he faced, got batters to chase only 29 percent of his pitches outside the strike zone, allowed a minuscule .200 BABIP, stranded 93 percent of the runners he put on base, and watched 21 percent of the fly balls he allowed leave the park during June. All of those figures suggest that regression’s going to hit him hard. Both his FIP and DRA for the season are approaching 6.00.
So before it all collapses, let’s savor his June. The seventh-oldest Ranger, was 3-0 with a 3.76 ERA and 0.99 WHIP during the month. His WHIP was the seventh-lowest among 39 ERA qualifiers in the American League in June, and he led the Rangers in wins and was second with 26 1/3 innings pitched. One of his three wins in the month was against the Nationals, which means the Cubs, Blue Jays, Mariners, and Rockies remain on the Austin Bibens-Dirkx Former Employers Vengeance Is Mine National Tour.
JUNE LINEOUT VOGELSONG PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Brian Goodwin, Washington Nationals. Among 88 National League batting title qualifiers in June, Goodwin’s .954 OPS ranked 16th. He hit .286/.371/.583 in the month, during which he took over Washington’s left field following Jayson Werth’s toe injury.
Goodwin’s path to the majors has been circuitous. He was the 34th overall pick in the 2011 draft and was considered by some the team’s top prospect in the spring of 2013. A so-so year in the minors in 2013 (.286 TAv) followed by a couple truly bad seasons (.253 TAv in 2014, .239 in 2015) took care of visions of stardom for the 26-year-old.
His 2017 Lineout reads: “Brian Goodwin had a nice bounceback season with the stick at Triple-A, earning a call-up in August and playing himself back into consideration for a future bench role on the strength of okay pop, some speed and solid defensive versatility on the grass.” This being 2017, of course, the aforementioned “okay pop” consisted of:
· 2013 at AA Harrisburg: 45.7 at-bats per home run
· 2014 at AAA Syracuse: 68.5 at-bats per home run
· 2015 at AA Harrisburg again: 53.6 at-bats per home run
· 2016 at AAA Syracuse again: 31.1 at-bats per home run
· 2017 through the end of June in Washington: 18.0 at-bats per home run
JUNE LINEOUT VOGELSONG PITCHER OF THE MONTH: Jordan Montgomery, New York Yankees. His Lineout in the Annual says only: “This should be the season we finally get to see Jordan Montgomery, who’s been toying with minor-league hitters by using his plus breaking ball.”
Brief, but accurate! He’s followed up three strong seasons in the minors (2.61 ERA, 24 percent strikeout rate, seven percent walk rate, 0.3 HR/9, which is not a typo) with a dominant June: Four wins (tied for second in the American League), 2.59 ERA (eighth among 39 ERA qualifiers), 1.05 WHIP (ninth) 3.9 K/BB (12th), 43 percent chase rate (third), 69 percent contact rate (fourth lowest).
His 92 percent strand rate was exceeded only by Bibens-Dirkx’s 93 percent, so it’s reasonable to expect Montgomery’s runs metrics to regress some, but unlike the month’s Full Vogelsong winner, Montgomery’s other peripherals are largely unimpeachable. With CC Sabathia on the disabled list, the 2014 fourth-round draft pick—whose single sentence in this year’s Annual was his first appearance in the publication—has emerged as the Yankees’ most reliable starting pitcher.
Congratulations to our winners! They can preorder next year’s Annual, in which they are virtually certain to be mentioned, after the season ends.