Stephen Vogt debuted with a bang for the San Francisco Giants on Friday night. Where does it rank among the most impactful games of his career?
The San Francisco Giants pulled off one of the most impressive comebacks in franchise history on Friday night, rallying from down 8-0 after three innings to walk away with a dramatic 12-11 victory in 11 innings.
Evan Longoria delivered the game-winning home run in the top of the 11th inning.
However, the game would not have gotten that far without a game-tying long ball from Stephen Vogt in the ninth inning off Cincinnati Reds closer Raisel Iglesias.
Vogt, 34, was making his Giants debut on Friday. He entered as part of a double switch in the bottom of the fifth inning and ended up going 3-for-3 with a double, a home run, two RBI and three runs scored.
That performance was the culmination of a long road back to the big leagues for Vogt, who missed the entire 2018 season recovering from major shoulder surgery that left his MLB future in doubt.
After signing a minor league deal with the Giants during the offseason, a hot start at Triple-A earned him a promotion earlier this week.
The veteran was understandably emotional after the game:
There’s no question this was one of the most meaningful games of Vogt’s career. The question we set out to answer was whether it was the most impactful game of the two-time All-Star’s career.
For that, we turned to statistic known Win Probability Added (WPA) which the FanGraphs sabermetrics library defines as follows:
"“Win Probability Added (WPA) captures the change in Win Expectancy from one plate appearance to the next and credits or debits the player based on how much their action increased their team’s odds of winning. Most sabermetric statistics are context neutral — they do not consider the situation of a particular event or how some plays are more crucial to a win than others. While wOBA rates all home runs as equal, we know intuitively that a home run in the third inning of a blowout is less important to that win than a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of a close game. WPA captures this difference.”"
On Friday night, Vogt posted a WPA of 0.423, which means he deserves roughly 43 percent of the credit for the Giants win.
That’s a big number. But is it the best single-game mark of Vogt’s career?
For that, we had to dig into his season-by-season game logs. It turns out, it’s only the fifth-most impactful game of his career, trailing the following performances (links to box scores):
- June 30, 2017: 0.484 WPA (2-for-3, 2 HR, 3 RBI, game-winning HR in 7th in a 3-2 win)
- May 22, 2016: 0.450 WPA (1-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI, go-ahead double in 5th in a 5-4 loss)
- July 15, 2016: 0.450 WPA (3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, game-winning single in 7th in an 8-7 win)
- Aug. 29, 2015: 0.447 WPA (3-for-3, HR, 3 RBI, game-winning single in 8th in a 3-2 win)
While last night’s game may not take the No.1 spot for his career, it’s impressive that he was able to turn in a top-five performance after starting the game on the bench.
And given the circumstances surrounding the game with his return to the big leagues and the dramatic comeback, Friday night just might turn out to be the most memorable game of Stephen Vogt’s MLB career.