Is it possible that a player can be so consistent, face the aces of other teams, have a winning record, best ERA in the national league and yet garner absolutely zero attention at the national level?
Ryan Vogelsong would tell you yes.
"People don't take me seriously," he said in response to being snubbed for the 2012 All Star game, "I'll probably play with a chip on my shoulder for the rest of my career."
He sure is playing like it. The guy we love to call VogelSTRONG is having an absolutely amazing, albeit quiet year. Mostly I will boil it down to three reasons.
#1 Chicks dig the strikeout
Because Vogelsong is not a strikeout king, he will not gain national attention until the days leading up to the end of the season. ERA is not sexy, it doesn't make people "ooh and ahh." When Tim Lincecum was in the Cy Young race in the beginning of his career, more attention was towards his devastating strikeouts by nasty changeup than to his low ERA.
#2 Win-Loss Record
Another reason you might tack on, is that Vogey doesn't have the win loss record to "prove" he's helping his team win. the 14 game winners, R.A. Dickey and Johnny Cueto have both had many outlets stating they will probably be the NL Cy Young Winner this year. Despite inside baseball analysts changing their tune as to how much a win-loss record really tells you about a pitcher, it will always be a significant statistic in determining who the front runners are.
#3 East Coast Bias
Ryan Vogelsong does not play for the Yankees. Plain and simple, if he was on an east coast team with the exact same numbers, same demeanor and same 12 hour pre-game routine, he would be the feel good story of the year. Unfortunately that title has been already bestowed upon R.A. Dickey, that plucky knuckleballer who wouldn't quit.
Lemme throw some numbers at your really quick to show you how important Vogelsong has been to this team. Do you remember when the last time he threw under 6 innings in a start?
September 21, ... 2011
Yes, Vogey has gone the entire season thus far pitching at least 6 innings in every start. You want to know how many other starting pitchers in the NL have done that this year?
Vogelsong leads the National League in ERA - 2.38
Fourth in opponents' batting average with .219
and 8th in walks+hits per inning (WHIP) - 1.13
He may not have the strikeout totals like Lincecum, but he still averages 6.75 strikeouts per 9 innings. If he keeps it up, there is no reason that Vogelsong should not be considered in the NL Cy Young discussion this year and possibly the winner.
If he keeps it up, maybe people will finally take him seriously, but I'm not sure I even care.
Laws of the Day
Vogelsong's last start where he gave up 4 runs in 6.1 innings broke up a 16 game streak of quality starts. Before the game his ERA was at 2.22