Friday, September 24, 2004


There's no nice way to say this, but Ryan Vogelsong stinks. He's awful, and the Vogelsong starting experiment has been like a bad joke pretty much the entire year. The fact that the Pirates apparently have not dismissed the possibility of using him as a starter next year is absurd.

Not to beat a dead horse, but J.J. Davis was a better hitter in the minors than Vogelsong was as a pitcher. He's younger than Vogelsong, and his physical tools as a hitter are at least equal to those of Vogelsong's as a pitcher. Davis got thirty at bats this year to prove himself as a hitter, even though he didn't have any minor league options left. By way of explanation, the management talked about how major league playing time was determined by performance - never mind that Davis' performance in the minors was excellent, and his performance in the majors, in terms of playing time, was the equivalent of an everyday player's bad week.

Meanwhile, Vogelsong has been allowed to stink up not just the pitching staff, but the starting rotation for almost the entire year, even though he could have been moved to the bullpen and he had an option left. It wasn't a bad idea for the Pirates to give him a shot in the rotation to start the year, but his chance should have ended for the year in June or July. The Pirates also had a number of good alternatives to Vogelsong at various points in the year, such as Dave Williams, who pitched most of 2004 at Nashville.

This is incredibly unfair - and not just to Davis, who's a promising player who needs playing time to develop, but to Pirates fans, who had to watch Randall Simon's sorry act in his place and who now have to count on watching their team get blown out nearly every fifth day. Vogelsong's not a starter now and probably won't ever be, and J.J. Davis is still a promising outfielder.


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