Jason Vargas
Jason Vargas
36-Year-Old PitcherSP
New York Mets
2019 Fantasy Outlook
The overall season numbers for Vargas were mostly terrible. A 5.02 FIP validates the 5.77 ERA. He did recover some of the strikeouts he lost in 2017, but was too charitable with the long ball, allowing 18 in 92 innings of work. To be fair, most of that damage came early in the season because he quietly finished the season on a roll. Vargas closed out the season going 5-1 with a 2.62 ERA and a 18% K-BB rate over his final eight starts. That late close to the season will linger fresh in the minds of a few owners who rode a FAAB acquisition to some surprising late-season success, but the secondary metrics do not back up the numbers. He is someone that could fit well on a team that wants to implement the opener strategy, but his fantasy value is still limited to the deepest of single-league formats as there is not much upside in a 36-year-old with fringe velocity. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Mets in February of 2018. Contract includes a $8 million team option ($2 million buyout) for 2020.
On track to start Friday
PNew York Mets
June 18, 2019
Vargas (calf) is listed as the Mets' probable pitcher for Friday's game against the Cubs.
Vargas' inclusion in the Mets' pitching schedule implies that the team has no concern for the southpaw's health after he was forced to exit his previous start Sunday against the Cardinals due to cramping in his left calf. Unless he experiences a setback with the calf in his pre-start bullpen session Tuesday or Wednesday, Vargas shouldn't face any restrictions when he returns to the bump in Chicago. His abbreviated outing last weekend ended a streak of three consecutive quality starts.
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Pitching Stats
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .279 302 48 25 75 14 1 9
Since 2017vs Right .260 1095 214 87 256 45 7 42
2019vs Left .245 58 11 5 13 6 0 1
2019vs Right .239 179 33 19 37 6 1 5
2018vs Left .250 96 17 10 21 2 0 3
2018vs Right .284 308 67 20 79 12 3 15
2017vs Left .311 148 20 10 41 6 1 5
2017vs Right .253 608 114 48 140 27 3 22
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
Since 2017Home 3.77 1.26 164.2 14 11 0 7.5 2.9 1.1
Since 2017Away 5.32 1.45 162.1 14 12 0 6.9 3.3 1.7
2019Home 2.79 1.14 29.0 1 1 0 7.8 3.7 0.9
2019Away 4.78 1.56 26.1 2 2 0 6.5 4.1 1.0
2018Home 3.92 1.15 39.0 4 4 0 9.9 2.1 0.9
2018Away 7.13 1.60 53.0 3 5 0 7.0 3.6 2.4
2017Home 4.00 1.33 96.2 9 6 0 6.4 3.0 1.3
2017Away 4.34 1.33 83.0 9 5 0 7.0 2.8 1.4
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Stat Review
How does Jason Vargas compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against this season's data (min 40 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
85.0 mph
Left On Base
Exit Velocity
87.2 mph
Spin Rate
2270 rpm
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
Swinging Strike
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Vargas was one of the biggest surprises of the first half, but his luck predictably ran out later in the year. After going 12-3 with a 2.62 ERA before the All-Star break, Vargas struggled to a 6.38 ERA and 1.60 WHIP over his final 15 starts (73.1 innings). The peripherals suggest that, on the whole, Vargas was far closer to the pitcher we saw in the second half than the one we saw over the first three and a half months, with his FIP and xFIP settling at 4.67 and 4.94, respectively. He displayed relatively sharp control with a 2.9 BB/9, but Vargas allowed a lot of contact (6.7 K/9), home runs were a major issue later in the campaign and lefty batters handled Vargas with ease (.356 wOBA). His lofty flyball rate makes significant improvement in the home-run department tough to envision, and the middling career strikeout rate gives him a hard ceiling in the fantasy game.
A lengthy recovery from Tommy John surgery in July 2015 cost Vargas nearly his entire season in 2016, with three starts in September representing his only appearances. He was solid in those starts, allowing an earned run per start while stretching out from three to four to five innings. However, his 86.6 mph average fastball velocity was a 1.5 mph drop from his efforts in 2015, a red flag that his stuff might be diminished by surgery. That might be an overblown concern, as Vargas' game has always been more about mixing pitches, including a particularly strong changeup. If he is able to show his old stuff, it could be another passable season for an extreme flyball pitcher throwing in front of an elite outfield defense. Vargas has posted an ERA+ above 100 in all three of his years with Kansas City after doing it only once in his first eight years in the league.
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. However, the 32-year-old pitcher took three trips to the DL all for different reasons. Vargas is well known for his ability to mix his pitches and has been claimed by many to have the best changeup in the game. This allows for Vargas to have high strikeout totals. The biggest issue for Vargas going into 2016 is the status of his elbow after undergoing Tommy John surgery in late July, which will hold him out of a significant portion of the 2016 season
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.
More Fantasy News
Not expected to miss time
PNew York Mets
June 16, 2019
Vargas (calf) isn't expected to miss his next start after leaving Sunday's game against St. Louis, Tim Healey of Newsday reports.
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Out with calf cramps
PNew York Mets
June 16, 2019
Vargas was removed from Sunday's start versus the Cardinals with a left calf cramp, Tim Healey of Newsday reports.
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Delivers another quality start
PNew York Mets
June 11, 2019
Vargas (3-3) earned the win in Game 2 of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Yankees by allowing three runs on seven hits across six innings. He struck out three and walked two.
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Upcoming start postponed
PNew York Mets
June 10, 2019
Vargas' start against the Yankees on Monday has been postponed due to inclement weather.
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Twirls five-hit shutout
PNew York Mets
June 5, 2019
Vargas (2-3) picked up the win in Wednesday's 7-0 victory over the Giants, scattering five hits and a walk while striking out eight in his eighth career shutout.
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