Jason Vargas (Seattle Mariners) @ Orioles, LHP, Seven percent owned
Stat potential: ERA, WHIP
Risk Factor: High
Just like any MLB team, "Spot D'jour" took a day off yesterday, which will happen from time to time. Apologies to anyone looking for today's pick, however, there weren't many options with only nine games on the docket.
For what it's worth, I like Oakland's Josh Outman (24 percent owned), not especially against Minnesota tonight, but moving forward this season.
Nonetheless, with my first five entries in the books, I've gone a respectable 3-5 with J.A. Happ, Kelvim Escobar and Randy Wells all pitching well—Happ being the lone player to earn a win. Brian Tallet was touched up a bit in his outing, while Jeremy Guthrie is a name I'd rather not hear for the foreseeable future.
Tomorrow doesn't offer any dream spot start scenarios, and when that's the case, it's usually best to avoid the waiver wire altogether. This is a daily blog though, so for the hardcore out there, I present my first ever "High" risk option—and it's a guy sporting a 1.93 ERA on the season.
I remember Jason Vargas from his brief stint with the Mets in 2007, when he started two ugly games following a big league call-up, leading to a quick demotion.
He did not pitch once in the bigs all of last year, and this December was part of the 12-man trade that brought J.J. Putz to the Mets. With over two-thirds of the season in the books, Vargas, a throw-in from the trade, is easily outperforming Putz, now on the DL.
Vargas has pitched five straight outings of two runs or less since replacing Carlos Silva in Seattle's rotation. The 1.93 ERA is coupled with a 1.16 WHIP, as batters are hitting .240 against the southpaw in 32.2 innings.His starts included tough opponents in the Rangers, Red Sox and tomorrow's matchup, the Orioles.
In his last outing on June 3, Vargas held the birds to two runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings, without issuing a single free pass. He only struck out two, but that's a category you can immediately forget about when streaming a pitcher like Vargas.
While he handled them fairly well last week, Vargas just doesn't have the makeup of a sub-two ERA pitcher, and a drop-off in performance should be expected. When it happens is anyone's guess, so another solid line against the Orioles isn't totally out of the question.
The big reason for the "high risk" label is the opponent, as I've made it a cardinal rule of mine not to spot start against strong lineups, especially at good hitting parks. That's the scenario Vargas is faced with tomorrow, and while he pitched well in his rotation debut at Texas, it's only a matter of time until Vargas gets roughed up by guys like Adam Jones and Nick Markakis.
Anyone still convinced in his improbable start should also remember how lackluster Baltimore's pitching has been this season. Tomorrow's game will be a rematch with rookie Brad Bergesen, who Vargas faced in Seattle. Bergesen is coming off two strong outings, but has been mediocre at best this season, as his .294 BAA would suggest.
Considering his success against the Mariners last time out, Bergesen is also an option for tomorrow, albeit not a strong one.
For what it's worth, the less than one percent owned Jason Hammel (@ Brewers) has been lights out on the road this season, but like I stated above, it's better to avoid tough matchups.