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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pitchers don't need good eyesight. Making them bat is irresponsible.

Ryan Vogelsong is a pitcher who hit his first home run in 2015 at age 37. Maybe it was pure luck. In 353 plate appearances Vogelsong had:
OPS .382
OPS+ 8
Photo of Ryan Vogelsong
Vogelsong is not a major league quality batter. He is paid to pitch, not to bat, which he was required to do because he played exclusively on National Conference (NC) teams, which retain the ridiculous rule that mandates that pitchers bat even though they have not been evaluated on their batting for more than 100 years.

Ryan Vogelsong is on the disabled list because he was hit in the face while batting May 23, 2016. Vogelsong started the game for the Pirates in Pittsburgh against the Colorado Rockies. Pirates won 6-3. Rockies starting pitcher Jordan Lyles was wild. He walked 3 of the 16 batters he faced. He also hit Ryan Vogelsong. In the second inning Lyles had already walked two and thrown a wild pitch when he hit Vogelsong with the bases loaded, forcing in a run; 2-0 Pirates. Vogelsong got an RBI.

The replay showed that Vogelsong froze. He did not appear to flinch. Maybe it was something that could have happened to anyone. Vogelsong has been batting since 2000. Or maybe Vogelsong has bad eyesight. Pitchers don't need good eyesight or good hand-eye coordination. All the other players do.

Having a random fan bat instead might be more fair, especially if restricted to good players on high school teams. But who would think it responsible to have just any fan bat? Maybe Vogelsong was little more than that.

Even if Vogelsong was not that vulnerable, he could have been.

Let's hope that by the time he recovers he has been traded to an American Conference team that does not pitch him against NC teams in their parks where he'd be required to bat.

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