What's Next For Kennys Vargas?
Image courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsThere's a legit argument to be made that Vargas has the most power in the Twins organization, and entering his age 27 season it's possible he's just now reaching his peak. He hit some of the most impressive homers of any Twins hitter last season. Here’s a look back at the five longest home runs hit by the Twins in 2017:
It should come as no surprise that Vargas led the Twins in average home run distance, but his mark of 423 feet also led all of baseball among hitters with at least 10 homers. Only four players hit a ball farther than that 483-foot mammoth he destroyed.
Vargas will be out of options in 2018, so he'll have to stick on the 25-man roster all season, but he'll still be incredibly cheap. He's not even eligible for arbitration yet. And when you take a look at his numbers, it appears he could the solution if the Twins are looking for an everyday DH.
.244/.322/.466 (.788 OPS), HR/18.7 ABs
AL DH Averages 2017
.243/.317/.418 (.735 OPS), HR/23.2 ABs
It would be tough to lose a guy like that on waivers and get nothing in return. Still, Vargas’ future is heavily dependent on how the Twins think Sano will recover from his surgery and whether or not they bring back Robbie Grossman, among other things out of his control.
The deadline to add players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft is this coming Monday (Nov. 20). If Kennys makes the cut, the next big date becomes Dec. 1, the deadline to tender arbitration-eligible players, like Grossman, contracts for 2018.
With his place on the roster tenuous at best, it doesn't seem likely Vargas would fetch much of a return via trade, but the Twins could always explore selling his rights to a team overseas. Earlier this offseason, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press wrote a piece that indicated Vargas has some interest in playing abroad if the opportunity presents itself.
Still, I'm sure Vargas would love to stick with the Twins in particular because they'll be playing two games this April in San Juan, Puerto Rico, his home country. It'll be interesting to see where he ends up.
Fun With Numbers
Here are some more offensive numbers I found interesting while digging around at Baseball Savant:
Twins Avg HR distance in feet (min. 10)
Twins Top 5 Avg. Exit Velocity (MPH)
92.4-Sano (fourth in MLB)
Twins Top 5 Avg. Exit Velo on Fly Balls in MPH (min. 30 results)
That's some particularly interesting stuff on Dozier. Is it possible to say that a guy doesn't necessarily have plus power, but at the same time say he's excellent at hitting home runs? That may sound like a backhanded compliment, but if anything it speaks to Dozier’s skill in capitalizing on the pitches he can hit out. He led the team in homers, but Dozier's most prodigious shot (435 feet) was just the 18th-longest on the team. But he also led the team with three in balls hit at least 400 feet that stayed in the yard.
As a team, the Twins had 15 balls hit 400 feet or more that weren’t homers. The longest was a 428-foot blast by Sano on April 11 that went for a double. On Aug. 6, Jason Castro hit the longest ball for an out, it traveled 411 feet. Eddie Rosario hit the shortest homer of the year for the Twins, a 349-footer on June 16, but that wasn’t even a cheap one, comparatively speaking. The shortest homer in baseball last year was a 302-foot oppo taco Lorenzo Cain wrapped around Pesky’s Pole in Boston.
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