Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Vargas: Not Just Spanish For Vagrancy

Claudio Vargas gets the start tonight for The Landlord Tomo Ohka, who was pitching much more like a Slumlord.

Vargas, fresh up from a pretty solid stretch at AAA New Orleans adds an additional arm to the now overloaded staff.

The right-handed Vargas is just 25. He was acquired from Florida along with Cliff Floyd and some chaff for Carl Pavano, Graeme Lloyd and some jestam.

He started the season in the rotation, but was moved to the bullpen by the end. As a starter, he was 4-4 with a scary 5.76 ERA. As a reliever, he pitched 'better': 4.61 ERA in 52 innings.

His big problem last year was the walks. He was just a hair under five a game. He struck out a decent number (6.8/game), but also allowed slightly more than one hit per inning. Even more distressingly, he allowed 26 homers in just 118 IP.

The gopher ball has probably been his biggest weakness. In Portland in 2001, he allowed 25 in 159 innings. Even in Montreal in 2003, he was ripped for 16 in 114 innings.

That's fine if you dont' have many baserunners, but he's always been around the 4 walks per game mark.

As you can probably guess, he's a pretty extreme flyball pitcher. 57% of his balls in play were hit in the air. (With Carlos Baerga almost certain to play second again, that's not a bad strategy!)

And this doesn't have to do with anything, but he was DL'd once in 1998 for bunions.

Frank has mentioned that he likes the idea of Vargas starting, primarily because of injury prevention. He doesn't like the idea of him having to warm up and not come in, or warm up on consecutive nights.

He definitely doesn't have the upside that the Slumlord or Puberty Boy, Zach Day do, but he's a serviceable fifth man. (That we have about 4 good fifth starters is another story!)


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