Pitcher of the Year: Jason Vargas
Some fans might argue Junis deserved to edge out the veteran Vargas for this honor. It helped the rookie’s case that he excelled during the time that Vargas struggled. However, that does a disservice to the incredible overall season Vargas put together.
The left-hander had one of the best first halves of a season in Kansas City Royals history. His record entering the All-Star Game was an incredible 12-3. Vargas added a 2.62 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.
It earned him a spot on the American League All-Star team. He pitched one inning in the Midsummer Classic. It was a scoreless frame that marked his final clean appearance for some time. That’s because Vargas regressed mightily at the beginning of the second half.
He had an atrocious 1-5 record in the month of August with a terrible 7.18 ERA. Vargas bounced back towards the end of September before a disappointing start in the season finale.
Even still, Vargas finished with the most complete season of any Kansas City Royals pitcher. All told, the impending free agent had an 18-11 record. The 18 wins tied him for the most in MLB. He finished with a 4.16 ERA and 1.33 WHIP.
With Vargas and Minor likely on the way out this offseason, Junis is set up to possibly be the best pitcher in 2018. But for 2017, that honor goes to Vargas.