33-Year-Old Pitcher – Kansas City Royals
2016 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
Vargas started in just nine games for the Royals in 2015, where he posted a 5-2 record and a 3.98 ERA in 43 IP. When healthy, Vargas was proving to be a formidable arm in Kansas City's rotation. Howev...
Jason Vargas Contract Information:
Signed a four-year, $32 million contract with the Royals in November of 2013.
Vargas (elbow) was moved to the 60-day DL Tuesday.
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Jason Vargas Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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2015 Stat Review for Jason Vargas As compared to the top 100 starting pitchers in 2015 (min 130 in)
A collection of stats that measure different skills.
A few general measures of a pitcher's effectiveness.
Balls in play avg. and % of runners left stranded.
Kansas City Royals Roster
MajorsAlexander, Scott (P)
AAABlewett, Scott (P)
AABianucci, Michael (OF)
A+Chavez, Johermyn (OF)
AAntonio, Mike (SS)
RookieAracena, Ricky (SS)
Jason Vargas: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Vargas posted the best ERA of his major league career in 2014 (3.71), and the advanced numbers suggest it wasn't a fluke, as his .299 BABIP and 74.5 percent strand rate were right in line with his career numbers. The 31-year-old journeyman has performed well when calling a pitcher-friendly park home over his career, as his 0.91 HR/9 rate and 8.2% HR/FB ratio both hadn't been replicated since his time in SafeCo Field with the Mariners. He ended up third on the team in both total strikeouts (128) and innings pitched (187), and came through when called upon in the playoffs, posting a 3.52 ERA over 15.1 postseason innings. Vargas may not have overpowering stuff, but uses a solid changeup and occasional curveball to get hitters out, and is especially effective against lefties, having limited them to just a .661 OPS and two home runs on the season. He's put together a steady nine-year MLB career, but just as in past seasons, Vargas likely won't strike out enough hitters to be a major fantasy asset outside of deeper mixed and AL-only formats in 2015.
Vargas missed nearly two months after getting a blood clot removed from his armpit in late June, but lulled hitters to sleep once again in 2013, posting a 4.02 ERA with the Halos. The veteran left-hander followed the formula which has made him a solid back end option in recent years last season: a low walk rate (2.8 BB/9) combined with soft-tossing deception (70.6% contact rate outside the strike zone). The Royals signed Vargas to a four-year, $32 million deal in November, as he represents an established presence who has the ability to throw 200 innings when healthy while posting a respectable, if unspectacular, ERA.
After consecutive years of absurdly low home-run rates – even more so considering his high flyball rates – Vargas normalized a bit in 2012, an ominous sign that was masked by Safeco Field, good defense, and luck. While Vargas' HR/9 rate ballooned to 1.45 last season (0.84, 0.99 the previous two years) and his HR/FB percent to 12.8 (6.1, 7.7), most of the damage was done on the road as spacious Safeco Field gave up just nine long balls in 98.2 innings. That resulted in a 2.74/4.78 home/road ERA split, but that's not the full story. Vargas' FIP (4.80) was nearly a full run higher than his ERA (3.85), and he stranded a career-high 73.8 percent of runners while posting a career-low .260 BABIP. Vargas' home protection will be reduced this year as he was traded to Anaheim in December for Kendrys Morales. If his luck changes too, he'll be in for tough times. His skill set remains a risky one to own despite the likelihood of improved run support and a very good outfield defense playing behind him in Anaheim.
The flyball-pitching Vargas continues to benefit from Safeco Field, even if his home-run rate inched up a little last season. Even though Vargas couldn't match his absurdly low home-run rate from 2010, he was still in rare company last season considering the number of flyballs he allows. Vargas' 43.9 flyball percentage ranked fifth in the AL last year, and only Jered Weaver gave up as many flyballs with a lower HR/FB rate than Vargas' 7.7 percent. Pitching in Safeco clearly helped, as Vargas posted a 46.4 flyball rate and 7.2 HR/FB mark at home. As a non-strikeout, pitch-to-contact hurler, Vargas is always going to be susceptible to crooked numbers – indeed, while his three shutouts ranked third in the AL, he also gave up at least five runs nine times – but pitching in a spacious home park at least helps keep the ball in the yard.
Vargas added a cut fastball last season and posted a career-high 62.5 first-strike percentage. He rolled through the first three months with a 2.80 ERA, but stumbled to a 4.76 ERA in the final three months as his BABIP normalized from .253 to .294. Vargas, though, benefited greatly from an absurdly low home-run rate. Vargas' 47.0 flyball percentage was fourth highest in the majors last season, but only 6.1 percent of his flyballs went for home runs. Playing in Safeco Field helped immensely as his home flyball rate was 48 percent and his home HR/FB rate was a mere 5.03 percent. Vargas is playing in the perfect park for his flyball ways, which explains his stark home/road splits.
Vargas was a regular on the Seattle-to-Tacoma train last year, hopping back and forth from Triple-A to the bigs as needed. He made 14 starts last season but isn't a good rotation option, and best that he can hope for in 2010 is to be a lefty out of the pen. In nine relief appearances last year, he struck out 13 and walked one.
Vargas missed all of 2008 with a torn labrum in his left hip and was dealt to Seattle in a three-way deal in December 2007. If Vargas comes back healthy, he'll likely have a shot at a middle-relief job in spring training. The Mariners have a couple of bullpen openings after losing J.J. Putz and Sean Green in the deal.
Vargas spent most of the year at Triple-A New Orleans, making two spot starts for the Mets. After an up-and-down first four months, Vargas closed with a bang in August and September before being sidelined with a bone spur in his pitching elbow that required surgery. He is expected to be healthy by spring training, where he may contend for a bullpen role.
Vargas started the year in the Marlins' rotation, but by the end of it he was back in the minors watching people like Anibal Sanchez zoom past him. Dealt to the Mets in the offseason, he'll still need to find a third pitch to have any prolonged success in the majors, no matter what uniform he's wearing.
Vargas made a splash in his first few starts after being called up after just three starts at Double-A, but faded as major league hitters figured out his two-pitch repertoire. He really needs more time in the minors to refine his arsenal, but the Marlins might decide to let him take his lumps at the back of their rotation in 2006.