Jason Vargas gave his Kansas City Royals another six innings while allowing only one run in a critical game last night. His efforts helped KC claim a 6-1 victory and win their second straight to follow up their hope-curbing losing streak. We’re far too deep into the season to call Vargas’ success with the Royals an anomaly, so now’s about the time for fans to realize that this veteran newcomer is one of the team’s most important members. By constantly exceeding expectations in Kansas City, Vargas could be having the best season of his career right now.
After 12 starts and 77 innings pitched, Vargas is 5-2 this year with a 3.39 ERA. If he can keep this up, he’ll finish the year with his best statistical production ever; Vargas’ lowest ERA in a full season prior to this was 3.78 in 2010.
Only KC ace James Shields has a lower ERA as a starter right now, just beating out Vargas by 0.03 points. A 15-6 record would (obviously) be his best record ever, and 231 innings pitched would be his highest total for a single season.
What’s truly impressive is that Vargas can be this successful while fighting through trouble almost constantly. Despite his tremendous ERA and innings totals, Vargas is also second on the team in total hits and home runs allowed. His ability to keep KC in games despite his lack of Yordano Ventura-like stuff makes him all-the-more remarkable. It’s also one of the bigger reasons why the Royals aren’t totally hopeless at this point in the season.