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 vote (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. Since we’re making up rules as we go along here, we’re declaring prior winners ineligible for the award in May, and continuing to exclude foreign players who sign with a major-league team after the Annual’s deadline.
Enough suspense. Here are the winners.
MAY FULL VOGELSONG PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Bobby Wilson. Texas. If Bobby Wilson were the guy who went out with half the class in high school, the Rangers are the girlfriend he met senior year who kept taking him back. Here is his transaction record:
· June 2001: Drafted by the Giants, didn’t sign
· June 2002: Drafted by the Angels in the 48th round, didn’t sign until May 2003, didn’t lose his rookie status until 2010
· October 2012: Waived by the Angels, claimed by the Blue Jays
· November 2012: Became a free agent
· December 2012: Signed with the Yankees
· November 2013: Became a free agent
· November 2014: Signed with the Diamondbacks
· October 2014: Became a free agent
· December 2014: Singed with the Rays
· July 2015: Waived by the Rays, signed by the Rangers
· November 2015: Became a free agent
· December 2015: Signed by the Rangers
· March 2016: Traded by the Rangers to the Tigers
· May 2016: Traded by the Tigers to the Rangers
When he was traded back to Texas on May 3, replacing DFA’d catcher Chris Gimenez, he owned a .203/.267/.299 career line. He proceeded to hit .358/.393/.491 with two homers while playing in 15 of the Rangers’ 28 May games. Yes, his 59 plate appearances aren’t a particularly robust sample, but no Full Vogelsong candidate got more than 63 plate appearances in May, and Wilson gets extra credit for his 1.4 framing runs with the Rangers this year, easily the most among the team’s catchers. His offensive performance won’t last—his lifetime stats, his .459 May BABIP (sixth in the majors among 282 players with 50 plate appearances), and his .215 projected TAv for the rest of the season all mitigate against it—but the first month of his third stint with the Rangers in eight months has certainly worked out.
Actual, real-life conversation between Annual editors last September, regarding whether to include Wilson:
P.D.: Not sure if we need both Chris Gimenez and Bobby Wilson as backup backup catchers; at least Gimenez deigned to have semi-interesting numbers in his small sample.
MAY FULL VOGELSONG PITCHER OF THE MONTH: Joseph Biagini, Toronto. The 26 year old rookie reliever had a 0.63 ERA and 1.93 FIP in 12 May appearances covering 14.1 innings. He also got credit for three wins (one vultured) and a save. He posted a subpar 19 percent strikeout rate but allowed just one walk and no homers, holding opposing batters to a .192/.208/.235 slash line. He had a 59.5 percent groundball rate and induced swings on 38 percent of pitches outside the strike zone. And while he’s a middle reliever, he wasn’t just used in garbage time; his 1.13 leverage index during the month is comparable to that of closers Kevin Jespsen and Brad Ziegler. All in all, not bad for a Rule 5 pickup (from San Francisco) who’d never pitched above Double-A until this season.
MAY LINEOUT VOGELSONG PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Jonathan Villar, Milwaukee. Villar had a suitably snarky comment in this year’s Annual (“went to the Astros in the Roy Oswalt trade, and all these years later it’s still the most interesting thing about him”) and his .481 BABIP (highest in the majors in May, minimum 100 plate appearances) screams “fluke.” But his .355/.450/.482 May slash line is bolstered by a healthy 15 percent walk rate and he led the majors with 14 steals in the month (accompanied by a perfectly fine 78 percent success rate). BP’s Bret Sayre rates him at the top of the two-star shortstop tier, and he’s cemented his role at as the Brewers’ shortstop until Orlando Arcia’s called up.
MAY LINEOUT VOGELSONG PITCHER OF THE MONTH: Michael Feliz, Houston. The award should probably go to Milwaukee’s Junior Guerra, who compiled a 3-1 record, 3.47 ERA, 2.84 FIP, and 25 percent strikeout rate in six May starts. Feliz, by contrast, is a reliever; his 16 2/3 May innings are less than half of Guerra’s total. And Feliz had a pretty complimentary lineout (“His size, velocity and track record in the minors make him a prime candidate for starting someday”) compared to Guerra’s (“Junior Guerra pitched in 12 different leagues, in five time zones, over nine years, before finally reaching the big leagues in 2015. One can only imagine how he felt after giving up singles to the first three batters”). But Feliz’s May numbers are just too fun. He had a 0.54 ERA and 0.18 FIP in May. Among pitchers with 15 or more innings pitched in the month, those are the second lowest and lowest, respectively. His lineout noted, “He’s had success limiting walks while pitching in the minors,” and he certainly did so in the majors in May: He issued his only free pass of the month on May 31. He struck out 26 of the 55 batters he faced (26 K/BB!), allowing a .074/.091/.093 line. His OPS+ allowed for the month was negative 49. Batters whiffed on 39 percent of their swings against him. When hitters made contact, they hit it on the ground half the time. All this from a pitcher who, in two April appearances, gave up 10 runs (nine earned), four walks, and three homers in 5 1/3 innings.
Congratulations to our winners! They can preorder next year’s Annual, in which they are virtually certain to be mentioned, after the season ends.
Thank you for reading
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