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Vogelsong Snubbed for Comeback Award

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Vogelsong Snubbed for Comeback Award

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On Thursday, MLB announced that the winners of the Comeback Player of the Year Award were Jacoby Ellsbury for the American League and Lance Berkman for the National League.

This means, quite obviously, that Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong did not win. And this is a shame.

Berkman had a helluva year. And the Cardinals are having a helluva year. But he didn't comeback in the way that Ryan Vogelsong did.

For starters, let's look at their performances.

Berkman hit 31 homers, knocked in 94 RBI and posted an OPS+ of 166, the best of his career. His WAR (wins above replacement) was 5.0, which is very good. And, oddly, puts him in order with teammates Albert Pujols (5.1) and Matt Holliday (5.0).

Vogelsong "only" finished with a 2.6 WAR. Vogey wasn't even the third-best starting pitcher on the Giants -- Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum were all better and/or more valuable this year, by most statistical measurements.

But Vogelsong made his first All-Star team, and he had the best ERA (2.71) on a very, very, very good pitching staff.

He won 13 games, pitched 179.2 innings and struck out 139 batters. All along the way, people said it was a fluke and that it couldn't continue to happen. He was criticized by opposing managers and even high-profile bags of hot air media members.

But most importantly, he wasn't doing this two years ago. Berkman mashed 25 homers in 2009 for Houston, 29 the year before that and 34 the year before that. His "comeback" is only impressive because he limped his way to 14 homers last year after playing in just 37 games following a late July trade to the Yankees.

Vogelsong, on the other hand, doesn't have any stats from 2010. Or 2009. Or 2008. Or 2007. Because he was pitching in freaking Japan.

In other words, he was out of Major League Baseball. And then he came back, he pitched his ass off, and he made the All-Star team, shocking the world with his 2011 performance.

Berkman had a great season. He's not just a guy getting handed the award by the voters because they couldn't find anyone worthy.

But he's just a bounceback, even at the ripe, old age of 35.

Vogelsong? That's called a comeback.

And it's a shame he wasn't rewarded for it.

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