Should Yusmeiro Petit or Ryan Vogelsong start in the postseason for the San Francisco Giants?


Before I begin, it’s worth noting this article is entirely hypothetical, the San Francisco Giants do need to make it into the postseason, first. If and when the Giants make it into the postseason, which I’m sure they will, there is one huge decision they have to make. Should Yusmeiro Petit or Ryan Vogelsong be the fourth and final starter in the postseason rotation? It’s a tough one.

It was always assumed Vogelsong, who has much experience given the fact he has already pitched in the World Series with the organization, would complete the rotation. However, with the recent success of Petit, all of a sudden Bruce Bochy has a very difficult decision to make. Right now, I for one have no idea what the best answer is, so — here is a breakdown of the competition for the final spot in the Giants’ postseason rotation.

First, what one must realise is that both starters are very, very similar. Neither Vogelsong or Petit has a real plus pitch, overpowering stuff or eye catching velocity. What they do both possess is pin-point control, and that makes the decision twice as hard. Given that both guys are back-end-rotation starters, it’s a given that they don’t always have this expert command, and without it, they are vulnerable and very likely to get hit hard.

I’m not saying that either Vogelsong or Petit would get hit hard in the postseason, but it’s possible, as we’ve seen this season. When the control is there, both guys paint the corners with a low nineties, high eighties fastball, and strike out lots of batters looking. The occasional curveball/slider/changeup are mixed in to keep the hitters guessing, and a quality start is normally recorded.

On the other hand, when the control deserts them, which happens from time to time, their low velocity fastballs catch way too much of the zone. Breaking pitches are left hanging up in the zone. Consequentially they get hit hard and often, typically yielding lots of runs. All in all, the two, in my eyes anyway, are the exact same pitcher, if you get me. So, it’s only fair to breakdown the metrics and statistics to decipher who should start in October for the Giants.

On the year, Petit boats an ERA of 3.64, a WAR of 1.6, a FIP of 2.66, a FIP- of 77, a strikeout percentage of 28 while owning a mere walk percentage of 4.3. Vogelsong on the other hand has compiled an ERA of 3.90, a FIP of 3.89, a FIP- of 113, a strikeout percentage of 19 and a walk percentage of 7. While it would appear Petit is the clear winner to grab a spot in the Giants’ postseason rotation, you must note his statistics are from a much smaller sample size, and the majority of his innings have come from the bullpen.

In terms of pitch arsenal, Petit’s fastball is rated at 1.7, whereas Vogelsong’s is rated at -1.3 — a pivotal pitch for both. On the other hand, Ryan’s cutter is rated at 2.0, a pitch which is effectively his bread and butter. His curveball is rated at 0.0, whilst Petit’s is rated 0.5. It would appear that Petit’s pitchers are better, in general.

Everything seems to be pointing to Petit, but there is one huge problem. Of course, just to confuse everything. As a starter, Petits’s stats are the polar opposite to the amazing line you saw above. He has a terrible ERA of 5.18, an opponent batting average of .259 and has allowed nine home runs in only just under 60 innings. Just when everything seemed clear, it now appears impossible to pick. Vogelsong or Petit?

All considered, I don’t know, man. It’s hard, too hard. In the totality of the stats, Petit is clearly the better option, but his splits as a starter worry me copious amounts. On the other hand, I do love Vogelsong. He can be lights out, and has all the experience and the know-how. Furthermore, the statistics clearly convey Petit is more successful out of the bullpen. If I had to pick one right now: Vogelsong, I think. Just thank goodness I don’t actually have to make this decision. Good luck, Boch.