Monday, September 1, 2014

How Does Vogelsong Continue to Increase Velocity at Age 38?

RYAN VOGELSONG'S  FASTBALL HAS INCREASED FROM 89.2 MPH to 90.7 Since 2013


 (see above FANGRAPHS chart)

Usually when pitchers get older, their velocity and performance suffers. Not so with one RYAN VOGELSONG. Defying all laws of gravity and age, Vogelsong only gets faster and better - even at age 38 ,  an age when most pitchers have retired. But, it's nothing new for the Giants  to have seen many players putting up unlikely numbers at advanced ages. Think Marco Scutaro, Aubrey Huff, Pat Burell and, of course, Barry Bonds, to name a few.

Ten years ago a 28-year-old Ryan Vogelsong was a   5.50 ERA pitcher toiling for Pittsburg. Unable to make it in the States, he went to Japan for a few years where things only improved slightly against lesser competition (4.17 ERA). 

Like so many other castoffs who come to the Giants out of nowhere to put up unlikely numbers, Vogelsong gives the majors another shot in 2011 and suddenly, at age 33, has a career year, posting a 2.71 ERA.
While things dropped off a bit in 2012, Vogelsong was still key in helping the giants to a World Series victory.

Since 2012, the 38-year old Vogelsong has raised his pitching velocity each year, while improving his strikeouts -nearly a strikeout per inning in some games like the one against Washington Aug 13 where he beat young phenom  Stephen Strasburg and put up seven strikeouts in seven innings while giving up but one run to the hard-hitting Nationals.  In so doing, Vogelsong has rivaled ace madison Bumgarner in velocity and strikeouts, matching Bumgarner's 94 mph range  on multiple occasions.  The above chart speaks for itself.  'Splain that one Lucy? 


It seems like when the going gets tough for the Giants, Vogelsong and company almost magically put the Giants back on track as he did recently in that big game against Washington, just after Bumgarner returned to old form two nights earlier against Houston with a shutout. 
Don't be surprised to see Vogelsong and the Giants continue to get better through the dog days as other teams slide - and see the unlikely Giants , perhaps,inexplicably, slide into playoffs against much better teams. 

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THE FOLLOWING IS AN ARTICLE ABOUT VOGELSONG AND OTHER GIANTS WRITTEN LAST YEAR. THE CULTURE  DOESN'TT SEEM TO CHANGE MUCH ON THE GIANTS. EVEN NAMES MAY CHANGE BUT THE MODUS OPERANDI DOESN'T, AS WE SEE IT...AND THE GRAPHS DO , TOO.


#VOGELSONG VELOCITY STATS (F/X ) SHOW FASTBALL BACK IN THE 90s for 2014

The San Francisco Giants never fail to amaze. Yes, they've got one of the better records in baseball with some of the lowest batting averages. But don't be surprised if it even gets better. 

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 Late Breaking - BARRY BONDS COULD GET  PERJURY OVERTURNED Click 
(EDITOR'S NOTE:OF COURSE, WE KNOW THAT BONDS DID HAVE HIS PERJURY OVERTURNED-NO SURPRISE FOR SAN FRANCISCO AND ITS COURTS.)**********

What was and normally would be a mediocre pitching staff has suddenly  become world beaters. Over -the -hill guys or normally under-achievers are suddenly going into their 'win at all costs' . When the going gets tough the Giants go on drugs. Of course, that's our opinion, but we've seen empiracal stats and have good reason to believe patterns we see before our eyes. Not to say everyone on the Giants is using performance enhancing drugs but, let's face it, Mr Selig, they haven't gone away and the Giants have always been leaders in that field  now going back over a decade when the Brian Sabean and company became imfatuated with Barry Bonds sudden turnaround they haven't looked back at his 'secret*' ever since - and continue to get away with it.  So much so, that they even brought Barry back as a coach in spring training this year - to the dismay of more than a few non-Giant  baseball people like Keith Obermann - to rub off some more on the players just like he did back in the days of Aurillia, Williams, Santiago. Hint, hint. Wink, wink.





Most teams would have long ago dumped an overweight, underachieving Pablo Sandoval or an aging Ryan Vogelsong - a pitcher with a sub-90 fastball they got cheap.  For almost two months Sandoval couldn't buy a homerun or reach the Mendoza line, yet the Giants kept playing him. Hmm. Then, suddenly last week, Sandoval stopped striking out and magically(?) raised his average almost 100 points with three homeruns and it doesn't look like he's going to stop in the near future as he propels the Giants past better teams and towards another World Series(?). Remember when the Giants acquired Marcos Sccutaro midseason, 2012, with a .260 average at Colorado , only to see him magically go on a tear as soon as he joined Cabrera, Sandoval  and company, raising his average almost 100 points while cutting his strikeouts in half. It's de ja vu again with Sandoval... and maybe someone else next week.  Giants Vogelsong got an earlier start this year , dropping his 5.00 ERA to below 2.00  for his last five starts, while, interestingly ,raising his velocity from the high 80s to the low 90s! This for a 37 year old pitcher who hadn't hit the 90s consistently since the end of 2012 and the World Series; when most pitchers were getting weary late in the year, Vogelsong was getting stronger and faster - and this year he's doing it even earlier in the year (see above graph).






You see, telltale signs of  PED usage are sudden drop in strikeouts for hitters and better velocity for pitchers. 
We've seen this many times in the past with the Giants, particularly late in the season when various players would become World Beaters.  In 2010 it was Burrell, Huff and the late season acquistion Cody Ross, who largely propelled the Giants  in October - this unlikely happenstance from over the hill players who remarkably and ,coincidentally,  all had career years in their late thirties. Oh, and don't forget Andre Torres, who also had a career year at 33 , and Jose Guillen, who did just enough damage for the Giants before getting kicked off the team after a second drug infraction (he was caught receiving drugs in the mail) There were others , too , with Guillen and Guillermo Moto actually getting caught and suspended for drug use.



In 2012, Melky Cabrera did enough damage for the Giants before HE got suspended  there wasn't a need for many others, but Marco Scutaro came along out of the blue to, remarkably, raise his .260 average to near .350 , where it stayed the rest of the season. On top of that Scutaro cut his strikeouts down to a miniscule number.  Then, of course, there was Sandoval, at it again with his late season heroics, with his three homer game against Detroit in the playoffs andseven October homers matching his entire year's output.  Interestingly , the three Giant 'heroes'   were all Venezuelan brethren.Even Barry Zito - perhaps the worst free acquisiton ever  in baseball -- somehow managed to become a consistent playoff and World Series winner for two weeks along with Vogelsong and others'  late-season mysterious surge.



So this year, for now anyway, it's Vogelsong and Sandoval.  Forget Scutaro. Hicks at second base  already has more homers than Scutaro ever did (8) and if he doesn't work out somebody else will fill the slack.It always happens for the giants .  These new designer drugs are easy to go and off and, besides, it's probably better for different players to be hot at different times lest it looks suspicious.  But the end of 2010 and 2012 were downright suspicious how the Giants suddenly came on with no name players becoming unlikely stars... Burrell, Huff, Ross, Renteria, Guillen, Uribe, Torrez, Blanco,Arias . Among the pitchers,    'washed up' Santiago Casilla and Tim Lincecum suddenly got their fastballs back for not one but two years.  And they they're still at IT, whatever you want to interpret as 'it.'






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Vogelsong, Sandoval Latest of Unlikely Giants 'Sudden Surgers'

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