Mar 22, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jason Vargas (51) pitches against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Vargas is Heading Into 2014 on the Right Foot

Mar 11, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Jason Vargas (51) throws during the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest questions for the Kansas City Royals this offseason was the question of how they would replace Ervin Santana. Even though the Royals signed Jason Vargas to a four year contract, it seemed unlikely that he would be able to replicate the type of season that Santana had last year. Yet, if Spring Training is any indication, Vargas may well do just that.

In his five Spring Training outings, Vargas has put together a 2.14 ERA and a 1.19 WHiP, striking out 13 batters while allowing only three walks. His outing yesterday against the Texas Rangers was the type of outing that the Royals dreamed of when signing Vargas – a seven inning performance where he gave up one run on eight hits and a walk, striking out five. Should Vargas put together that type of performance, where he is allowing nine baserunners in seven innings consistently, the Royals should be in most of those games.

Yes, the normal caveats from this time of year apply. it is a small sample size. Spring Training statistics do not matter. All of those are true. Yet, it is certainly better to see Jason Vargas pitching well in Spring Training than to be concerned that he could be throwing batting practice once the season begins.

In fact, it may not be unreasonable to think that Vargas could perform at a similar level to how Santana did last season. In 2013, Santana produced a 3.24 ERA, a 1.142 WHiP and a 3.16 strikeout to walk rate. Based on how Vargas has performed thus far, and with the excellent defensive outfield that the Royals possess, he could produce similar numbers. With the expansive outfield and the Royals stellar defense behind him, Vargas could be primed for a career season.

Jason Vargas was signed to replace Ervin Santana in the rotation. If Spring Training is any indication, that plan may actually end up working out for the Royals.

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  • Eric Akers

    I look at Vargas as replacing most of Medoza’s and Davis’ starts while Ventura needs to replace Santana. If Vargas is a lot better than what we got out of Luis and Wade, then Ventura doesn’t have to be quite as good as Santana was. Those two were mostly terrible. I suppose you could argue that either way, however. Regardless, I am excited to see an improvement on the 15 and 24 starts that Luis and Wade provided, respectively. That cannot be done by a single guy, but it is close enough I suppose.

    • Daniel Ross

      I agree. Vargas shouldn’t be expected to replace Santana, he and Ventura together can. At the same time Ventura and Vargas are 10x better than Wade or Luis. So maybe this starting rotation won’t be as bad as some people expect.

  • unclejesse40

    I would also say that with the type of pitcher that Vargas is Spring Training in Arizona should make his numbers look poor, and since they don’t I he just might be the perfect type of pitcher for the K and the type of team the royals are trying to put together. I am so excited for this year!

    • Dave Hill

      Things seem to be going almost too perfectly. It’s a bit frightening.

  • jessanders

    I don’t see Vargas being able to replicate Santana’s numbers. I also don’t know that Santana would be able to reproduce last year’s numbers.

    I don’t like the Vargas signing. It was too much money for too many years for a pitcher with little upside.

    But, if he is able to replace Mendoza and Davis’s starts with league average or better starts, and Ventura can come close to 3.75 ERA or so over 160 innings (I don’t think he’ll hit 200 in his rookie season) then our rotation should be better this year than it was last year, possibly by a lot.

    Throw Duffy figuring it out and taking Chen’s place 2 or 3 months in, or Zimmer getting called up late in the year to take his place, and it’s possible our rotation could be one hell of a rotation.

    I’m so excited for Ventura, Zimmer and Manea.

  • moretrouble

    You’re correct…for a lefty pitcher, the right foot is the lead foot. Who said you guys don’t know anything about pitching mechanics…LOL.

    • Dave Hill

      Every once in a while, we hit on something that makes us seem smrt.