Weekend pitcher watch: Ryan Vogelsong

Updated: May 13, 2011, 3:50 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

Like most of you, I scoffed at the notion Ryan Vogelsong could have much fantasy value when the San Francisco Giants called him up a few weeks ago. I mean, Vogelsong was once a pretty good prospect for the Giants, but that was a decade ago. He was with the Pittsburgh Pirates through 2006, but never had major league success. His career major league ERA entering this season, which few thought would change after years of toiling in the minors and Japan, was 5.86. Last year I saw Vogelsong hurl for the Triple-A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, and overall he produced a 4.66 ERA and 1.77 WHIP with the Iron Pigs and the Triple-A Salt Lake City Bees!

So it is that Vogelsong was called upon to replace another guy who didn't seem to matter much in lefty Barry Zito, and of course against any expectations he's delivered a cool 3.05 ERA and 0.96 WHIP over 20⅔ innings, including three starts. His last time out he permitted one measly hit to the Colorado Rockies over 6⅓ innings. Is he legit or is this a ruse? Well, I think we'll learn a bit more about Vogelsong this weekend when he pitches at Wrigley Field.

Ultimately, I don't think Vogelsong has standard league value at this point, even knowing Zito isn't close to returning. I don't buy into the notion that if other members of a team's rotation are thriving, that means a pitcher with less talent will suddenly step up and overachieve. It really doesn't work that way. However, the Giants do play their home games in a friendly place for pitchers, and once upon a time Vogelsong was highly regarded. It was just a long time ago. I'd avoid him this weekend, but I do have to admit I am watching.