Name: Daris Vargas
DOB: August 12, 1992
Repertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.
Fastball. The first thing anyone notices with Vargas is his plus velocity. He'll sit mostly in the 94--98 mph range with both a power four-seam fastball and a sinking two-seamer, and it's a heavy fastball combination, one that seemingly is difficult to lift. Different than most pitchers, he doesn't vary his velocity hardly any between the two sets of fastballs. More so than the sheer velocity though is his ability to maintain that power not only deep into his starts but deep into his seasons too, something he and the Yankees found out in his first full season this year; he actually threw harder down the stretch than he had in the first couple of months of the season. His control used to be non-existent too. In fact, at the beginning of his transition to pitching he would often times walk more batters than he struck out and now the older he gets, and the more reps he gains, the better his control has gotten. He doesn't pitching nearly as often behind in counts anymore and it's because he can locate a lot better with early count fastballs.
Other Pitches. A former position player, Vargas is still relatively new to pitching and has spent the better parts of his first couple of seasons working on his delivery and learning how to throw more strikes. As a result, his secondary pitches haven't gotten nearly as much attention and therefore lag behind others at the same minor league levels. Still, he flashes big league average with both of his secondary pitches, the most consistent of which is his changeup. It shows adequate movement and decent control but both are areas where there is still room for significant improvement. The same can be said of his power slider too. It is very hard, sitting anywhere from 85-88 mph, but both the break and the command of it can be a little too inconsistent. He can throw it for strikes now where that used to be a problem but now he is learning how to command it better.
Pitching. Vargas is still transitioning from natural hard thrower to more of a pitcher and that process takes time. His game to this point has mostly been about refining his mechanics and throwing more strikes, and to his credit the progress has been slow and steady. Very athletic, he has proven he has the ability to repeat his mechanics but the muscle memory is only now starting to take over. He has a bulldog approach -- he wants to attack batters but sometimes he is simply unable to throw it where he wants -- but still walks a few too many batters. He mixes in his secondary pitches better than he ever has before but the confidence is really only now starting to show up to throw them more in obvious fastball counts. He is quite good at fielding his position but he is still learning the nuances of holding runners better.
Projection. The now 24-year old was a mere high-ceiling, boom-or-bust projection guy when he first signed with the Yankees and he's slowly developed himself into a bit more than a big league longshot. His control and command have crept up to the big league average vicinity, and so have his secondary pitches, at least in spurts. That alone gives him viable potential as a big league middle of the rotation type starting pitcher when factoring in a plus 94-98 mph fastball. However, there is still some consistency needed to be gained on all aforementioned fronts for that potential to be realized. Some scouts consider him a better relief option given the power fastball and that is most likely the case but he would still need a bit more improvement with his slider for that to happen too. A little like Mets' reliever Hansel Robles in that regard, Vargas' advanced age might force him into a bullpen role despite having a starter's ceiling.
ETA. 2019. Vargas is most likely headed to the high-A Tampa rotation to start the 2017 season. He's a Rule 5 Draft protection threat going forward and sooner or later he is either going to have make a move stuff-wise or command-wise to prove his worth as protection material.