Feliz Dia Del Nino!
Today is national Kids Day in Mexico and boy, oh boy, do the San Diego Padres have a talented kid from Mexico on the team. His name is Cesar Vargas and yesterday he looked impressive yet again in his second career outing.
Vargas went five and a third innings and struck out six. Two of those strikeouts came from former Friar Adrian Gonzalez. Vargas was constantly making Dodgers hitters look silly at the plate with outrageous looking swings at his pitches. The most impressive thing about Vargas is how calm and collected he looks on the mound.
The 24-year-old looks like Greg Maddux in his 40’s out there. The kid is out there on the biggest stage at one of the most historic ballparks in baseball, and he looks calmer than Trevor Hoffman throwing BP. Vargas sparkled in his debut against the St. Louis Cardinals last week, and looked just as calm last night. Unfortunately for Cesar the bullpen has let him down in both of his outings.
Cesar hasn’t yet achieved his first MLB win because of the bullpens failures. The bullpen allowed 10 runs to cross the plate on his debut. Then last night Brad Hand could not give him a “hand” and allowed a home run off of Yasmani Grandal to give Vargas the no-decision. Cesar has impressive numbers in his first two starts only allowing a run and striking out nine in 10 and a third innings of work.
The Padres may have landed a young pitcher that virtually comes out of nowhere. A great example would be a country man to Vargas, Roberto Osuna. The 21-year-old burst in the MLB last year at the age of 20 and became the closer for the Toronto Blue Jays. Prior to his debut in the Majors Osuna had only pitched in High-A with the Dunedin Blue Jays. Osuna made a great transition to the majors and is now a very dominant closer with the Jays.
Vargas had pitched up to Triple-A before making his major league debut with the Padres. He threw in El Paso and also in the Yankees minor league system. The impressive thing about Vargas though is the fact that he was for the most part a reliever in the minors. He is now transitioning into a starter. The way Vargas pitches it seems like he will never get injured (knock on wood). He motion is flawless. It is important to have a limited pitch count on him right now because he was used as a reliever prior to this season.
Vargas reminds me a lot of a right handed Ted Lilly. Lilly was a pretty good pitcher who made a couple of all-star games and pitched for 15 years, so don’t take that comparison lightly. The way Vargas reminds me of Lilly is how effortless they seem to throw the ball. Vargas and Lilly both make it seem as though it’s easy to go up on the mound and throw 90. Both of them are also great at locating, and both posses that nasty curve. Lilly had an outstanding curve ball and Vargas seems to be developing quite a nice one as well.
I feel like Vargas deserves a nickname so I quickly developed a very nice one for him. How would you describe the way Vargas pitches? I would use three words… calm, cool, and collected. Now what’s a cool sounding word to use as his nickname that describes all of that? I came up with the spanish word “calmado” which translates to calmed down. I thought the perfect nickname for Vargas would be “El Calmado”. That sounds great doesn’t it? Cesar “El Calmado” Vargas.
On to more serious business. This kid is spectacular. He has shown me, Padres fans,and hopefully Andy Green that he deserves to stick around on the major league roster. His demeanor, his poise on the mound is like a seasoned veteran. Vargas definitely deserves to stay up for the Friars and hopefully he does. Hopefully he becomes our Roberto Osuna, Our Dallas Keuchel, Our Jake Arrieta. Okay maybe that’s a bit much, but he does have potential. For now though he’s our Cesar “El Calmado” Vargas. Viva Los Padres and as Mark Grant says “Viva Vargas!”.