Kansas City Royals: Five Biggest Surprises in 2017
Jason Vargas: Joint-MLB Wins Leader
Heading into Saturday’s action, there were six people tied for the most wins in MLB this season with 17. Among the joint-leaders are familiar names Clayton Kershaw, Chris Sale and Corey Kluber. Former Kansas City Royals pitcher Zack Greinke is also on 17 wins after a rough 2016.
Milwaukee Brewer Zach Davies is a surprising inclusion on the 17-win list. However, the most stunning member of the group is Jason Vargas. After missing almost all of 2016, Vargas has piled up wins this season.
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The 34-year-old pitched amazing in the first half and earned his first All-Star appearance. However, it’s possible Vargas would have been better served resting over the All-Star break. But you can’t blame him for wanting to participate in his first Midsummer Classic.
In the opening half of the season, Vargas put together a 12-3 record with a 2.69 ERA. Since his scoreless ASG appearance, the veteran left-hander is 5-7 with a ballooned 6.39 ERA. That’s with three straight wins and only four runs allowed over that span.
All told, Dr. Vargas has operated to a 17-10 record. He has a decent 4.03 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. Control has been arguably his biggest downfall this season. As a pitcher who gets few strikeouts, his 2.40 K/BB ratio is less than ideal.
Vargas seems unlikely to be back in Kansas City in 2018. But his 2017 will go down as one of the better seasons by a Royals pitcher in recent memory. That’s something few people—if any—would have predicted when the curtain was raised on the season five months ago.