Alexander Vargas was signed by the New York Yankees as a free agent on January 2, 2013.
Making his professional debut, Alex started five games for the Dominican Summer League Yankees 2 affiliate (Rookie), pitching to a 0-0 record, and a 2.08 ERA. He struck out 13 and walked six.
Vargas made his stateside debut, throwing in Tampa, FL for the Gulf Coast League Yankees (Rookie) club. In 10 games (nine starts), the 203-pound right-hander fired 41.2 innings pitched. He went 2-4, posted a 4.97 ERA, and hitters batted .318 against him.
The 6’4” right-hander did not pitch due to a series of back issues.
The Santiago, Dominican Republic native enjoyed a breakout return season with the Staten Island Yankees (Single-A – Short Season) and Charleston RiverDogs (Single-A). Vargas combined to pitch 72.1 innings across 13 starts. Alex posted a 1.88 ERA and 4-0 record in Staten Island. In Charleston, he made his final nine starts pitching to a 2-3 record and 3.17 ERA. He fared much better against opponents, as they just hit .231 off him.
According to Baseball America, “Vargas starts his arsenal with a low-90s fastball that features hard sink… He coupled the fastball with a changeup in the low-80s that projects as plus as well as a developing curveball in the upper-70s”.
In the same article Josh Norris interviews 2017 Charleston manager Pat Osborn, who says, “He’s got some sink on his fastball,” Osborn said. “And that changeup, I can’t see it from (the catcher’s viewpoint), but from the side it looks like it’s got some bottom to it, which right around the plate area when the ball meets the barrel, it’s got some bottom and they’re pounding it into the ground.”
Norris writes, “he also showed impressive ability to work ahead in the count, induce weak contact and keep his pitch count low.”
2017 RiverDogs pitching coach Justin Pope was also interviewed by Norris and said, “He’s throwing strikes with his fastball and changeup, which are really good pitches,” Charleston pitching coach Justin Pope said. “His fastball has really good sink. He throws the fastball and changeup for strikes, and he’s developing his curveball, but today he had one three-ball count. He was getting ahead of hitters, and when you get ahead of hitters, it makes pitching easier. Not easy, but easier.”
At just 20-years old, Vargas has progressed and developed better and quicker than one could have hoped after missing a full season only one year ago. Look for Vargas to build on his strong 2017 and finish the year with the Tampa Tarpons (Single-A – Advanced) after beginning the season back in the low country.
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