Kansas City Royals Pitcher of the Year: Jason Vargas
As mentioned on the previous slide, Vargas has been phenomenal in putting together a 12-3 record before tossing a scoreless inning—fittingly with no strikeouts—in Tuesday’s All-Star Game.
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Entering the second half, Vargas leads the AL in wins (12) and ERA (2.62). He’s tied for first with Toronto Blue Jays hurler Marcus Stroman with a 4.0 WAR, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Greinke was 10-5 with a 2.12 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP at the All-Star break in 2009 when he went on to win the Royals’ most recent Cy Young Award. In 1994, Cone had a 12-4 record with a 2.88 ERA and 1.04 WHIP at the season’s unofficial midway point.
It will take a nearly flawless rest of the season—or a complete collapse from Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale—for Vargas to have a legitimate chance at winning the club’s fifth Cy Young Award. (Along with Greinke and Cone, Bret Saberhagen also took home the honor in 1985 and 1989.)
Regardless, Dr. Vargas has been surgical in his precision, while pitching like the anti-Sale. A fastball that hangs around in the mid-80s has worked just fine for Vargas thanks to his pinpoint control and a fantastic curveball to complement it.