Seven Second-Half Questions for the Kansas City Royals
Is this the Jason Vargas we can expect for the season’s remainder?
An ERA a run lower than his previous best.
Two wins away from his career high (please cue the “Wins don’t matter!”).
Jason Vargas, all six feet (please) of him, pitched what was unquestionably the best ball of his career since the start of April. He was a deserving All-Star and quite frankly, I’d rather he’d started the game than Chris Sale, who is widely considered something of a crazy person.
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As Sam Mellinger detailed, no pitcher, at his age, has had a late-career breakout like this in literally decades.
Can he keep it going is another matter entirely.
Dr. Vargas’ FIP (3.79), xFIP (4.77), K/9 (6.60) and plodding fastball (average speed: 85.8 mph) suggest that a few stompings are in order. But he’s upped the use of his curveball (to 20.5 percent) and it’s not like the opposing BABIP is curiously low (.276), plus he’s yet to induced swings outside the zone at a rate commensurate with his career (29.7 percent).
Dr. Vargas’ practice won’t look like it did in the first half, but that doesn’t mean bad. He’ll regress, because he’s not actually Sandy Koufax. How far will be the question.