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Has the criticism of Kennys Vargas been fair?

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#1 bighat

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:20 AM

Pondering Kennys Vargas this morning after his big HR put the Twins up for good last night. I think he's vastly underappreciated and underrated. In my mind, I think if he plays 140 games per year we get a .255 batting average and 34 HR. He can DH full time (switch hitter) and a Sano-Vargas combo in the 4/5 holes would scare other teams to death. Vargas can fill in at 1st base too. 

 

Why, when it's pretty evident to me he's a 30+ per season HR guy right now if he played full time, does he always get the shaft?  What's SO TERRIBLE about Kennys? I think the Twins really have something with him and they seem to have absolutely zero patience and send him down if he so much as swings at a bad pitch. 

 

Thoughts? 

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#2 alarp33

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:25 AM

Well for one his OBP being below .300 this year, and barely above .300 for his career.  

 

I'm curious where you pulled 34 HR from? He's never hit that many in any season at any level, including being given the opportunity to mash AAA pitching as a 27 year old. 

 

If anything Vargas is highly overrated by a segment of fans.  What has he done to be given any sort of permanent role?  His slugging numbers are nothing special, he strikes out a good amount, doesn't have a position, and doesn't take walks. 

Edited by alarp33, 23 August 2017 - 10:30 AM.

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#3 Vanimal46

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:34 AM

 

Well for one his OBP being below .300 this year, and barely above .300 for his career.  

 

I'm curious where you pulled 34 HR from? He's never hit that many in any season at any level, including being given the opportunity to mash AAA pitching as a 27 year old. 

 

If anything Vargas is highly overrated by a segment of fans.  What has he done to be given any sort of permanent role?  His slugging numbers are nothing special, he strikes out a good amount, doesn't have a position, and doesn't take walks. 

 

Concur. Vargas hasn't proven that he's worth a spot on the 25 man roster. No position flexibility, and doesn't hit enough to overcome the deficiencies in his game. 

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#4 Doubles

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:36 AM

I'd like to see another big bopper to protect Sano as well, but Vargas ain't it. Can any team withstand 450+ whiffs in the middle of their lineup?

#5 Doomtints

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:38 AM

I have not heard any criticism of Vargas from the Twins, though there are probably short quotes here and there that I'm unaware of. Fans of course have a lot to say but you can't go by that at all. At some point the Twins have to decide what to do with him and not just call him up when other people fail or get injured.

 

The Twins act like he can't field. However, they also have never tried to field him off of 1B, which seems a bit braindead, esp. after bending over backwards to fit Sano into the lineup in the past. At least try Vargas in the OF once while he is in the minors!

 

alarp - Vargas paces at 25 HR/yr if he would ever play a full season. That's not 34, but most teams would take it. 

 

A better question for this thread might be -- is Vargas a better option at 1B than who the Twins play at 1B currently? Yes he is.

 

Vargas as not played a full season at AAA in a year, by the way, so his "he couldn't even hit dingers at AAA" argument is not a great one.  

 

Vargas is probably going to have a nice but not HOF career, but we have to admit that this won't happen with the Twins barring an unexpected Mauer retirement.

Edited by Doomtints, 23 August 2017 - 10:50 AM.

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#6 alarp33

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:40 AM

 

 

 

alarp - Vargas paces at 25 HR/yr if he would ever play a full season. That's not 34, but most teams would take it. 

 

From a DH only with an OBP struggling to hit the .300 mark?  No, most teams would not take that.  

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#7 Steve Lein

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:40 AM

In my opinion, for whatever reason, they've never truly given him a full "shot" at earning a full-time spot.

 

Some point out the low-OBP, but I attribute this to the fact he's never been given consistent playing time. His isolated discipline in the minors is .095, which is excellent. In the majors it's only been .057.

 

I do agree he's a 30-HR guy in a full season if he was the DH for all of it.

 

Kennys hit ball far.

Edited by Steve Lein, 23 August 2017 - 10:42 AM.

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#8 lukeduke1980

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:51 AM

I think they were just taking advantage of his option.  I like him and hope he sticks around and improves his contact and pitch recognition.  

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#9 wsnydes

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:52 AM

I still waffle back and forth on this.  I think his inconsistent playing time in the bigs hurts him, but at the same time he doesn't push to stay in the bigs while he's in the minors either.  While I haven't been thrilled with how he's been handled in his career, I'm not sure that he's done enough to warrant a larger role on the big league club. 

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#10 spycake

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 11:02 AM

 

Vargas paces at 25 HR/yr if he would ever play a full season. That's not 34, but most teams would take it. 

Doubtful he would play a full 162 games.Using the OP's 140 game estimate, Vargas would pace at just under 22.Paired with a 100 OPS+, no positional value, and next year no minor league options at age 27-28 -- I'm sure a lot of teams would pass.

 

More on that: someone could claim him, sure. But not a lot of teams would be looking to plug that into an everyday spot.  All but 5 MLB teams (including the Twins) are on pace to get more than 25 HR from the 1B position this year, it's not that impressive of a number, by itself, in modern MLB at that position.

 

5 AL teams (including the Twins) are on pace to get fewer than 25 HR from their DH spot too.  One of those would be a likely claiming team, but not sure how much rope they'd give him.

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#11 Doomtints

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 11:03 AM

 

From a DH only with an OBP struggling to hit the .300 mark?  No, most teams would not take that.  

 

Since when has the DH role been a high OBP position?  


#12 spycake

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 11:04 AM

 

Vargas as not played a full season at AAA in a year, by the way, so his "he couldn't even hit dingers at AAA" argument is not a great one.  

His career 140 game pace at AAA in 22.7 (same as MLB, in fact).  About 1 more than his career MLB pace.


#13 gunnarthor

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 11:04 AM

He just makes too many outs.

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#14 spycake

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 11:06 AM

 

Since when has the DH role been a high OBP position?  

AL DH OBP is .325 this season.  4 teams are below .300.

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#15 alarp33

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 11:10 AM

 

Since when has the DH role been a high OBP position?  

 

Wait you think teams seek out players with low OBP's who also can't field a position?

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#16 spycake

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 11:11 AM

 

A better question for this thread might be -- is Vargas a better option at 1B than who the Twins play at 1B currently? Yes he is.

Mauer has a 107 wRC+ this year, 102 last year.  Vargas is at 91 this year, 99 career.  And given Mauer's defense, guaranteed roster spot, and perhaps his OBP fitting our lineup better, it's hard to see this as a good argument for Vargas.

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#17 bighat

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 11:11 AM

 

In my opinion, for whatever reason, they've never truly given him a full "shot" at earning a full-time spot.

 

Some point out the low-OBP, but I attribute this to the fact he's never been given consistent playing time. His isolated discipline in the minors is .095, which is excellent. In the majors it's only been .057.

 

I do agree he's a 30-HR guy in a full season if he was the DH for all of it.

 

Kennys hit ball far.

 

See, this is my opinion too. I know I'll get slammed for not listing his OPS and other metrics, but I feel those are slanted due to the fact that he's been up-and-down so darn often. He hasn't even had a real chance to get into a groove, ever. 

 

I agree with others here in that Mauer's kind of blocking him. But when the Twins are DH'ing guys like Escobar and Grossman all year, I feel that Vargas would be a huge improvement and I'm just kinda baffled on why the Twins don't seem to want him to stick. 

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#18 alarp33

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 11:15 AM

 

 

 

I agree with others here in that Mauer's kind of blocking him. But when the Twins are DH'ing guys like Escobar and Grossman all year, I feel that Vargas would be a huge improvement and I'm just kinda baffled on why the Twins don't seem to want him to stick. 

 

Robbie Grossman has been a significantly more valuable offensive player than Vargas, that is why they play him at DH

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#19 Thrylos

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 11:16 AM

.385/.400/.923

.508 wOBA,

225 wRC+

6.5 AB/HR

 

Kennys Vargas' 2017 numbers in high leverage situations.  

 

I think that those numbers really make the impression that Vargas has been much better than he has actually been this season.

 

I also think that the Rochester shuttle has not help him perform quite as well as he can this season and the fact that, unlike Grossman, he has an option has hurt him.The Twins will need to evaluate him.Going on with him as their primary DH for the rest of the season will actually show what Vargas can do.

 

The other thing with Vargas is that he is a low fastball hitter.He punishes 2-seamers, hitting .429 off them and having only a 8% K%.Sliders and curve balls however have hurt him (.107 & .160 BAA and 43.3 and 42.3 K% respectively.)So there is a clear recipe on how to get him out and a clear defect that has to fix to become productive long term.And he is 27, not 22.

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#20 spycake

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 11:18 AM

 

See, this is my opinion too. I know I'll get slammed for not listing his OPS and other metrics, but I feel those are slanted due to the fact that he's been up-and-down so darn often. He hasn't even had a real chance to get into a groove, ever. 

Even before he came to MLB, he never profiled as a great hitter.  

 

He has 3 seasons in his pro career with more than 400 PA at one level in a season, at high-A, AA, and AAA (just last year at age 25).  His wRC+ marks for those seasons are 130, 130, and 129.

 

Maybe he's a touch better than his current MLB career 99 wRC+, but that's the range he's in.

Edited by spycake, 23 August 2017 - 11:20 AM.

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