Before the season started, the projection systems were telling us all that Ryan Vogelsong's wax wings were going to melt. Like the true believers we are, we laughed at this insanity. Two in three years, two in three years! Predict that, nerds! /gives computer a wedgie
Then Vogelsong's wax wings melted, and he plummeted to a grisly demise. During what was his best start of the season, he broke his hand on an ill-advised swing. When he came back, he was better, but still discouragingly mortal.
But there were warning signs, which we explored in Vogelsong's community projection. He was 35 and relied on preternatural command. Those kinds of pitchers have a wafer-thin margin for error. But I was drunk on confetti extract and waving my shirt around my head. Wooooo, the Giants are going to be awesome again. Woooooooo, Vogelsong is the best.
Ryan Vogelsong (projected)
Woooooooo, I love everyone. You're all the best! LET'S GO GI-ANTS clap clap clap clap clap LET'S GO GI-ANTS clap clap clap clap clap! Woooooooooo, Vogelsong!
Ryan Vogelsong (actual)
hrurrgggh … hurrrrhrrmrmmgf … can someone get me a glass of waaatrrrmmmmffffphgh
That confetti extract made for a serious hangover. And in all the years I've been doing projections, this is probably the worst of them all. There were warning signs stacked on warning signs. The World Baseball Classic might not have been the direct cause of his struggles, but the change in routine couldn't have helped. And Vogelsong had never cracked 200 innings, so why would he do it now? At least I was close with the home runs, though!
The difference between that projection and what Vogelsong actually did is the difference between 76-86 and a .500 team. Matt Cain's struggles were a problem. The collective power outage and bullpen were also a big part of the Giants' dismal season. But I think the single most disappointing part of the 2013 season was Vogelsong.
It didn't help that the chainsaw commercial ran every half-inning. Rmmmnrrr nrrrr nrrrr nrrrrr.
The Giants have a $6.5 million option on Vogelsong that they're not sure about. It looked like it was going to be the easiest decision in the world to pick that up, even in the early part of the season. It was a low-risk, reasonably priced option for a pitcher who was as good as Vogelsong in 2011 and 2012. He would have to be apocalyptically bad for the Giants not to pick that up.
He was apocalyptically bad. Dang it. My guess is the Giants will try to sign a cheaper deal, but they won't be able to. They'll put that money toward Bronson Arroyo's deal and figure that Yusmeiro Petit can be the Hagar to Vogelsong's Lee Roth, at least until Edwin Escobar is ready. Oh, the irony.
I know which pitcher I'd prefer to root for. And there's no one I've rooted harder for than Vogelsong over the last two seasons. I'm hoping he'll come back and be awesome. I'm predicting he won't come back, and he's never going to come close to his 2011/2012 numbers again. It's a weird combination, those hopes and predictions. It's kind of paralyzing. I have no idea what to root for.
Can someone just tell me how it all works out? That would be great, thanks.
But if the Giants are serious about re-signing Tim Lincecum, they'll already have a pitcher pushing the limits of that hope-prediction paradigm. We might have seen the last of Ryan Vogelsong, which is a quietly devastating thing to type.
Oh, well, at least the Dodgers won the division.
I'm going to be in the tub.
This community-projection review sucked.