keyboard_arrow_uptop

This monthly award is named in honor of Ryan Vogelsong who, in 2011:

1. Had a 2.71 ERA, fourth in the National League, and a 3.63 FIP

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 player 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.

AUGUST FULL VOGELSONG PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Nick Delmonico, Chicago White Sox. Delmonico was working on an admirable record: Three appearances, including two straight, as only a Lineout in the Annual before disappearing in this year’s edition. (He got a full writeup in 2014, and he showed his gratitude by hitting just .262/.300/.404 in his second year at High-A and getting suspended for amphetamines.) He was having a decent year at Triple-A Charlotte this season, hitting .262/.347/.421 with 12 homers in 429 plate appearances, though his .768 OPS loses some of its gloss when you consider that he’s a 25-year-old corner bat playing for a team with a .721 OPS.

Nonetheless, with the White Sox trading away third baseman Todd Frazier and left fielder Melky Cabrera in July, Delmonico’s skill set matched the club’s current needs, and he was called up on August 1. He started 11 games at DH, nine in left field, and two at first base during the month. His 1.002 OPS was ninth-best in the American League among batting title qualifiers, and was second on the White Sox in home runs (six), runs (17), and ISO (.267). And his numbers came with a reasonable .309 BABIP. He also exhibited good plate discipline, swinging at only 29 percent of pitches outside the strike zone and walking more than he struck out.

He ranks fifth on the team in batter WARP this season, with 1.0, even though his entire body of work consists of 91 August plate appearances. Unfortunately, he hit the 10-day disabled list on August 26 when he “tweaked” his wrist in a game after aggravating it during batting practice the day before. Wrist injuries are tricky for hitters, of course, but Delmonico can recuperate with the knowledge that he’s the first hitter in the 117-year history of the White Sox to hit six homers in his first 19 games.

(Note that last month’s Full Vogelsong Hitter of the Month, Alex Presley, also was hurt at the end of his award-winning month. I hope the Vogelsong Award doesn’t become a variation on the Sports Illustrated cover jinx.)

AUGUST FULL VOGELSONG PITCHER OF THE MONTH: Craig Stammen, San Diego Padres. DING DING DING DING DING! WE HAVE A WINNER! Back in March, I invited readers to send in their choices for potential Full Vogelsong award winnings this year—i.e, players who weren’t in the Annual. Our own Bryan Grosnick picked Stammen, and he hit the jackpot! Congratulations, Bryan! You win … well, nothing, but you did win. (Incidentally, if you’re not listening to Bryan, R.J. Anderson, and Shawn Brody on the DFA Podcast, you should.)

Stammen was one of the busiest relievers in the National League in August, tied for 10th with 14 2/3 innings pitched. He compiled a sparkling 1.23 ERA and a, well, if not sparking, kind of shiny 3.61 FIP during the month. (The league average for relievers were 4.41.) His peripherals were pretty good—21 percent strikeout rate, 9 percent walk rate, 53 percent ground-ball rate, 11 percent HR/RB rate. (NL relievers averaged 23 percent, 10 percent, 45 percent, and 14 percent, respectively.)

But here’s what differentiated Stammen: Leverage. His average leverage over his 13 relief appearances was 2.23, second in the league, sandwiched between Greg Holland and A.J. Ramos. I know, you’re thinking: When did the Padres face leverage? When Stammen entered the game, that’s when:

  • August 4: Bottom of the sixth, leading Pirates 4-3, runner on first and no out: 2.04 leverage index.
  • August 5: Bottom of the seventh, leading Pirates 3-2, bases loaded and two outs: 6.09 leverage index.
  • August 6: Bottom of the ninth, tied with Pirates 4-4, nobody out or on base: 2.08 leverage index.
  • August 10: Bottom of the sixth, leading Reds 3-2, runner on first and no out: 2.47 leverage index.
  • August 12: Bottom of the sixth, leading Dodgers 3-1, runners on second and third and no out: 3.32 leverage index.
  • August 24: Bottom of the seventh, tied with Cardinals 2-2, nobody out or on base: 2.04 leverage index.
  • August 26: Bottom of the ninth, tied with Marlins 1-1, nobody out or on base: 2.58 leverage index.
  • August 30: Top of the fifth, leading Giants 1-0, bases loaded and one out: 2.22 leverage index.

In those appearances, all with more than twice the average leverage, Stammen allowed only two of 11 inherited runners to score. He got a win, a loss, and four holds in the month.

The 2017 Annual broke a streak of eight straight appearances by the 33-year-old righty. Realizing this isn’t exactly a high bar, his 1.1 WARP is fifth on the Padres this year, with all 68 1/3 of his innings out of the bullpen.

AUGUST LINEOUT VOGELSONG PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Jose Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals. In keeping with the avoiding high-BABIP flukes—sorry, John Hicks and your .929 OPS with a .472 BABIP!—Martínez becomes the second successive Lineout Vogelsong Player of the Month produced by the Cardinals Devil Magic Machine™, joining teammate Paul DeJong. His Lineout entry in the Annual was, well, not a rave review: “After more than 4,500 plate appearances in the minors and winter leagues, José Martínez earned a September cup of coffee, but the former PCL batting champ has little to offer a big-league club beyond height, persistence, and well-honed packing skills.

About those 4,500 plate appearances (currently 4,743): Martínez is 29. He qualifies as a rookie this year but is older than 15 of his 24 teammates on the Cardinals’ active roster. His first appearance in the Annual was in 2008. So, high marks for perseverance! His .305 TAv is second on the team this year to Thomas Pham’s .329, helping paper over the occasional injuries to Dexter Fowler and the ineffectiveness of Randall Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty. He hit .283/.391/.500 with in 61 August plate appearances, as he started six games in left, two in right, and one at first base. His .316 BABIP was reasonable and he was fourth on the club in both walk rate (16 percent) and ISO (.212) during the month.

AUGUST LINEOUT VOGELSONG PITCHER OF THE MONTH: Jake Junis, Kansas City Royals. After making July trades that added pitchers Brandon Maurer, Ryan Buchter, and Trevor Cahill and outfielder Melky Cabrera to help fuel a pennant drive, the Royals slumped to a 10-18 record in August, the worst in the American League. But don’t blame Junis, about whom we said in the Annual: “With plus potential on his fastball and curve, right-hander Jake Junis consistently pounds the strike zone and has improved in each of his three seasons.”

His fourth season has seen Junis shuttle between Kansas City and Omaha; he’s been recalled seven times this year. In August he started four games, allowing just five runs in 25 innings, striking out 24, walking just one, and allowing no homers. (He also had a clunker of a relief appearance in which he gave up four runs in 2 1/3 innings.) His 1.80 ERA and 1.69 FIP were the lowest in the American League in August (minimum 20 IP). Not bad for a 29th-round pick in the 2011 draft with a career 4.41 ERA in five minor-league seasons coming into the year.

***

Congratulations to our winners! They can preorder next year’s Annual, in which they are virtually certain to be mentioned, after the season ends.

Past Winners

April Full Vogelsong Player: Jim Adduci, Detroit Tigers

April Full Vogelsong Pitcher: Craig Breslow, Minnesota Twins

April Lineout Vogelsong Player: Manny Pina, Milwaukee Brewers

April Lineout Vogelsong Pitcher: Andrew Triggs, Oakland Athletics

May Full Vogelsong Player: Brock Stassi, Philadelphia Phillies

May Full Vogelsong Pitcher: Dinelson Lamet, San Diego Padres

May Lineout Vogelsong Player: Chris Taylor, Los Angeles Dodgers

May Lineout Vogelsong Pitcher: Ryan Tepera, Toronto Blue Jays

June Full Vogelsong Player: Tyler Moore, Miami Marlins

June Full Vogelsong Pitcher: Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Texas Rangers

June Lineout Vogelsong Player: Brian Goodwin, Washington Nationals

June Lineout Vogelsong Pitcher: Jordan Montgomery, New York Yankees

July Full Vogelsong Player: Alex Presley, Detroit Tigers

July Full Vogelsong Pitcher: Chris O’Grady, Miami Marlins

July Lineout Vogelsong Player: Paul DeJong, St. Louis Cardinals

July Lineout Vogelsong Pitcher: Anthony Swarzak, White Sox/Brewers

Thanks to Alex Crisafulli for research assistance.