Picosecond pulses at gigahertz repetition rates from two different passively mode-locked VECSELs are amplified to high powers in cascaded ytterbium doped fiber amplifiers. Small differences in pulse durations between the two VECSELs led to amplification in different nonlinear regimes. The shorter 0.5 ps pulses could be amplified to 53 W of average power in the parabolic pulse regime. This was confirmed by excellent pulse compression down to 110 fs. The VECSEL producing longer 4.6 ps pulses was amplified in an SPM dominated regime up to 200 W of average power but with poor recompressed pulse quality.