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The Beast has Awoken

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#1 jokin

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 10:37 AM

As the weather is finally warming up, so should some of the dormant minor league bats......Here's a line that has yet gone unnoticed, a tasty SSS to be sure, but which demands more careful scrutiny from this point forward:

BB% 16.3%
K% 10.2%
AVG .400
OPS .510
SLG .775
OPS 1.285
ISO .375
wOBA .557



This is Kennys Vargas's plate numbers over the last 2 weeks. The Beast awakens....and few are taking much note,,,,,and he's doing this with virtually no support in front of, or behind him, in the woeful New Britain batting order. Imagine a potential switch-hitting David Ortiz, he's now basically one stop away from the Twins lineup.

#2 drivlikejehu

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 10:41 AM

He's no David Ortiz, but I do like him as a prospect. Not that there's room on the current roster...

#3 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 10:49 AM

I always wondered why he spent 3 years in rookie ball.

#4 jokin

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 10:57 AM

He's no David Ortiz, but I do like him as a prospect. Not that there's room on the current roster...


Fortunately, that's not an issue, as Vargas is already "current", having been placed on the roster in the offseason. And as we've seen in the first 5 weeks of the season, injuries and trades are inevitable, if he continues to rake, it will be hard to ignore him as a legit power bat option- stepping up to the most significant readiness level for major league consideration- AA....while nearly reversing his K/BB career trends while upgrading his power numbers can't be ignored when the time comes for consideration to the big club.

#5 drivlikejehu

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 11:06 AM

I meant the 25 man obviously. The Twins have options at DH including Pinto, Willingham, Arcia, Colabello, with Parmelee hitting at AAA.

Vargas' walk rate has fluctuated over his career so it's not really a surprise that he's taking BBs. He is striking out less, but in a small sample, with a low BABIP. His RC+ by year and level-

2009 R-: 134
2010 R-: 162
2011 R : 132
2012 A : 180
2013 A+: 130
2014 AA: 156

#6 jokin

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 11:26 AM

I meant the 25 man obviously. The Twins have options at DH including Pinto, Willingham, Arcia, Colabello, with Parmelee hitting at AAA.

Vargas' walk rate has fluctuated over his career so it's not really a surprise that he's taking BBs. He is striking out less, but in a small sample, with a low BABIP. His RC+ by year and level-

2009 R-: 134
2010 R-: 162
2011 R : 132
2012 A : 180
2013 A+: 130
2014 AA: 156


His low BABIP rate is actually encouraging, meaning more HRs lately (6) and eventually, the line drives and fly balls that will drop in and normalize the rate, which should support the continued high batting numbers, when the BB% drops. The wRC+ improvement year over year is a signficant plus- and doing it at AA. And as I stated, he's drawing these extra BBs and hitting for average and power without any support around him- give him credit for taking these bad pitches rather than getting frustrated at the lack of meatballs being dished out. When he gets decent plate support, the BB% will surely drop, but he should get more decent pitches to feast upon.

Regardiing the DH options, Pinto won't be a DH much longer- he either steps into the C full-time or is replaced at DH when Gardy returns to the 2-catcher lineup (which opens a potential roster spot- think Thome), Willingham will be traded soon, Parmelee is not on the roster, Arcia is currently hurt and struggling with a K% in the mid-30% range, while Colabello is currently in his first significant slump, and some of the above and possibly others are bound to have injury down time over the course of the season. And Vargas already being on the 40-man just streamlines the decision-making process at the opportune moment. This is not as insurmountable a hurdle as it might seem at first glance.

Edited by jokin, 04 May 2014 - 11:40 AM.


#7 Twins Twerp

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 11:35 AM

Why does everyone think Willingham "could" get traded. He had a great season in 2012, but since has been horrific. We probably couldn't trade him plus cash to a team for a bag of balls or a singular bat. Willingham will be on the roster until the season ends. Unless of course he starts hitting some dingers, which I don't see happening considering he hasn't swung a bat in a weeks.

#8 Shane Wahl

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 11:39 AM

I knew who you were talking about from the title. It's an impressive streak. I think the 2015 roster is going to look a lot different, and he might be part of that.

#9 jokin

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 11:39 AM

Why does everyone think Willingham "could" get traded. He had a great season in 2012, but since has been horrific. We probably couldn't trade him plus cash to a team for a bag of balls or a singular bat. Willingham will be on the roster until the season ends. Unless of course he starts hitting some dingers, which I don't see happening considering he hasn't swung a bat in a weeks.


Guys like Willingham with expiring contracts are traded every single year. Although we may not like the return we get, he will be moved before season end.....barring a season-ending injury, you can book it right now.

#10 Brandon

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 11:41 AM

"Regardiing the DH options, Pinto won't be a DH much longer- he either steps into the C full-time or is replaced at DH when Gardy returns to the 2-catcher lineup, Willingham will be traded soon, Parmellee is not on the roster, Arcia is currently hurt and struggling with a K% in the mid-30% range, while Colabello is currently in his first significant slump. and some of the above and possibly others are bound to have injury down time over the course of the season. This is not as insurmountable a hurdle as it might seem at first glance"

I agree that by the 2nd half of the season Vargas could be a potential call up. Though if Suzuki continues to hit Pinto will remain at DH. Suzuki has shown no signs of regression. He has out hit Pierzinski who we tried to get for his offense last offseason. how ironic is that? Pinto has a .900 OPS so he isn't going anywhere either.

I do think Arcia could be passed up if he doesn't fix some of his hitting issues. Willingham will be traded or let go this offseason only because we have too many replacements for him. Colabello is slumping which is taking the wind out of the Twins lineup right now. Going into next year we have 8 options for 3B, LF, RF, DH, and back up 1B:

Arcia
Pinto
Colabello
Sano
Plouffe
Kubel (possibly resign)
Vargas
Parmelee

#11 jokin

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 11:44 AM

I always wondered why he spent 3 years in rookie ball.


Conditioning and the weight issue? Just a guess. The fact that the Twins put him on the roster tells me that they had- and have even more now- strong faith in Vargas's potential from the day of his signing.

#12 jokin

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 11:52 AM

I agree that by the 2nd half of the season Vargas could be a potential call up. Though if Suzuki continues to hit Pinto will remain at DH. Suzuki has shown no signs of regression. He has out hit Pierzinski who we tried to get for his offense last offseason. how ironic is that?

Pinto has a .900 OPS so he isn't going anywhere either.

I do think Arcia could be passed up if he doesn't fix some of his hitting issues. Willingham will be traded or let go this offseason only because we have too many replacements for him. Colabello is slumping which is taking the wind out of the Twins lineup right now. Going into next year we have 8 options for 3B, LF, RF, DH, and back up 1B:

Arcia
Pinto
Colabello
Sano
Plouffe
Kubel (possibly resign)
Vargas
Parmelee


Pinto's current OPS is .735, not .900. And with all of the guys who need to come back onto the active roster......and with the starting pitching possibly getting straightened out, it's easy to see a 2-catcher alignment and only 12 pitchers. That would open up the "Thome spot" for someone like Vargas. I hope Vargas can bang the doors down....his cause (and bating numbers) will be aided when the reinforcements finally come up from Ft Myers.....Buxton obviously, but also possibly Rosario, Michael, Polanco, Walker, Hicks.

Edited by jokin, 04 May 2014 - 05:35 PM.


#13 Pitz

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 11:56 AM

ortiz?

#14 jokin

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 12:10 PM

ortiz?


Hicks. Fixed it. (Although Ortiz might still wake his bat up, as well- that suddenly would take New Britain from probably the least-feared to one of the most feared 1-7 batting orders in the EL).

Edited by jokin, 04 May 2014 - 12:13 PM.


#15 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 01:57 PM

I always wondered why he spent 3 years in rookie ball.


I think there was a 50 game suspension in there that occurred during his second year, forcing him to finish it in his 3rd season.... could be wrong on that though.

#16 Thrylos

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 04:00 PM

I meant the 25 man obviously. The Twins have options at DH including Pinto, Willingham, Arcia, Colabello, with Parmelee hitting at AAA.


Arcia and Pinto will be position players. Willingham is on the DL and pretty much out of the door and Vargas is better than both Colabello and Parmelee.

The Twins will be better tomorrow if they swap Colabello with Vargas.

That simple.
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#17 Thrylos

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 04:01 PM

I think there was a 50 game suspension in there that occurred during his second year, forcing him to finish it in his 3rd season.... could be wrong on that though.


Yes. Suspended while at E-town so he had to start the suspension there and that season does not start until after the draft.

Speaking of, Vargas was never drafted (even though eligible) and signed as a free agent.
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#18 jokin

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 04:26 PM

Arcia and Pinto will be position players. Willingham is on the DL and pretty much out of the door and Vargas is better than both Colabello and Parmelee.

The Twins will be better tomorrow if they swap Colabello with Vargas.

That simple.


"Vargas is better than both Colabello and Parmelee" I don't think it's hit people yet in realizing the full potential of Vargas. While I'm not sure if Kennys would be better than Cola tomorrow, Vargas needs to be on the fastest track to the majors possible, perhaps commensurate with the success he might demonstrate while playing with higher quality prospects....re, the imminent promotion of Buxton and followed soon thereafter by the rest of the top A+ prospects in June.

Mauer's withdrawal from the game today is a reminder of how quickly a chain reaction of events could occur should another major OF/DH/1B go to the DL. Parmelee for a look see, with Vargas to Roc.- perhaps for 30 games or so, until the decks are cleared in July? It's a scenario that could easily happen.

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 04:38 PM

He's off to a great start, but he doesn't have much minor league "seasoning" under his belt...he played in only 159 games in his first 4 seasons, with less than 700 PAs total in those four seasons. This is his first season above A ball.

I doubt he sees Minnesota in 2014.

#20 Thrylos

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 05:04 PM

He's off to a great start, but he doesn't have much minor league "seasoning" under his belt...he played in only 159 games in his first 4 seasons, with less than 700 PAs total in those four seasons. This is his first season above A ball.

I doubt he sees Minnesota in 2014.


Using the same logic, Colabello (who made his pro debut on May 22nd last season) had only a year and a month of minor league experience before that and about the same number of games under his belt.
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#21 ashburyjohn

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 05:22 PM

Using the same logic, Colabello (who made his pro debut on May 22nd last season) had only a year and a month of minor league experience before that and about the same number of games under his belt.


Colabello, advanced in age but with little experience in organized ball, is a fair comp for approximately 0.000000001% of ballplayers.

#22 jokin

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 05:47 PM

He's off to a great start, but he doesn't have much minor league "seasoning" under his belt...he played in only 159 games in his first 4 seasons, with less than 700 PAs total in those four seasons. This is his first season above A ball.

I doubt he sees Minnesota in 2014.


He did well with 500+ PAs in High A, and is building on that this year. If the 3 position players on the DL take the spots of Hermann, Santana and an RP, while Nunez takes a spot from Florimon.....that leaves Vargas as the only viable depth position player on the 40-man to fill the DH/1stB role when the next injury/trade hits. Obviously, Parmelee would be first in line, but that's going to take more maneuvering- I would think that Parm is there to pick up when either Arcia or Kubel falter in the OF, or if Mauer goes to the DL. With a 12-man pitching staff and the departure of Willingham or the next DL guy, IMO, the way could be open for Vargas to be considered for a call-up as early as July in an expanded Thome role.- provided he continues to mash in NB or Roc., of course.

#23 drivlikejehu

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 05:55 PM

Colabello is a unique case who also is nominally able to play the outfield, which Vargas could not do under any circumstances.

I hope Vargas continues to hit but he won't be in Minnesota before September (and quite possibly then either) unless half the roster hits the DL at the same time. Just not happening.

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 05:59 PM

Colabello, advanced in age but with little experience in organized ball, is a fair comp for approximately 0.000000001% of ballplayers.

Not to mention half a decade plus in independant pro ball.

#25 twinsfan34

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 06:00 PM

I always wondered why he spent 3 years in rookie ball.


Two injuries and a suspension were factors.

#26 twinsfan34

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 06:10 PM

I'm with the camp that believers Vargas will be a MLB hitter. He's lost 50 games 3 times already. So he's lost 1.5 seasons and that's about how far he is behind Ortiz development wise.

Vargas:
http://www.baseball-...id=vargas001ken
Ortiz:
http://www.baseball-...id=ortiz-001dav

Need to remember steroid free Ortiz was a 30-35 HR hitter, not the 40+ guy.

#27 jokin

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 10:37 AM

[quote name='jokin']As the weather is finally warming up, so should some of the dormant minor league bats......Here's a line that has yet gone unnoticed, a tasty SSS to be sure, but which demands more careful scrutiny from this point forward:

[QUOTE]BB% 16.3%
K% 10.2%
AVG .400
OBP .510
SLG .775
OPS 1.285
ISO .375
wOBA .557[/QUOTE]


This is Kennys Vargas's plate numbers over the last 2 weeks. The Beast awakens....and few are taking much note,,,,,and he's doing this with virtually no support in front of, or behind him, in the woeful New Britain batting order. Imagine a potential switch-hitting David Ortiz, he's now basically one stop away from the Twins lineup.[/QUOTE]

It's been a month now since Vargas began his torrid hitting in AA, while the numbers have smoothed out a bit, his numbers since April 20, are better or comparable to the Eastern League leader, Top 50 uber-prospect of the Red Sox, Mookie Betts's season-long stats. Even with his poor start in April, overall for the season, Vargas now ranks in the top 5 in the EL in SLG, ISO, OPS and wOBA, top 4 in wRC+.

Here are his stats for the last month:

[QUOTE]
BB% 12.7%
K% 12.7%
AVG .363
OBP .449
SLG .627
OPS 1.077
ISO .265
wOBA .474
[/QUOTE]

He is continuing to demonstrate that his added plate discipline is not a fluke. How many power hitters, at any level, have a 1.00 BB/K ratio? Now the only question is:
When will he be promoted to Rochester?

The First Baseman currently there is 31 year old journeyman, Brad Nelson. I would think that once Arcia and Willingham are back with the Twins, the club can choose to cut or demote Nelson, opening a potential spot for Vargas to DH and play some First. But they'll undoubtedly have to make decisions on Hermann, Nunez, and especially, Colabello and Parmelee, who pose potential blocks in Rochester to Vargas's chances to moving up and claiming a roster spot with the Wings.

#28 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 11:48 AM

my guess... right around the minor league all star break.

#29 jokin

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 01:27 PM

my guess... right around the minor league all star break.


That sounds about right. Even if Nelson is dropped, it still seems like there's one too many guys that need a spot between the Twins and Red Wings, once everybody's all finally healthy. It seems unlikely that Parmelee will clear waivers this time- so either he stays with the Twins or he's probably gone. I would kind of like to see Cola and Vargas battle for Red Wing playing time at First and DH and making each other better in the process.

#30 jokin

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 03:30 PM

Interesting article out today on Vargas. Now he's giving even more reasons out why I predict he soon will become a MN Twins fan favorite. He's gone through a lot to get where he is now, and he's more than willing to give back. And now..... Big Papi has fully taken him under his wing:

A rare breed is the switch-hitting slugger, but Vargas is doing his best to live up to the expectations, even in the face of the comparisons to Ortiz, a man he confides in regularly to help him along his path to the Majors [a bit of caution here....I hope Papi isn't influencing Kennys away from being a Twin, long-term]

..
"Big Papi is like part of my family," said Vargas, who is batting .309 with eight homers and 28 RBIs this season. "Every day he calls me and says 'keep it up.' That's made me motivated so much, and I try to keep working every day."

Introduced in Spring Training when Vargas was a 20-year-old trying to find his hold in the game, Ortiz took to the youngster and has been a mentor for the Twins' No. 16 prospect ever since.

"I've known him for four years," said Vargas. "Everybody knows Big Papi, but his personality is better than he shows in the media. He talks to me a lot about things in life, what I have to do, eating, staying out of trouble."


http://www.milb.com/...s_milb&sid=milb

If he keeps hitting at this pace, he's bound to enter some top 100 lists, mid-season or next off-season, and one would have to think he'd be projected to making the Twins roster no later than 13 months from now.