Vargas’ changeup found quite a bit of success in 2019. It generated 9.1 pVAL by drawing large amounts of weak contact outside of the zone as evidenced by it’s .217 AVG against, 41.2 O-Swing% and 54.9 O-Contact%.
Vargas’ big sweeping curveball, much like his changeup, found success by drawing weak contact outside of the zone. You’d like to see it get more strikeouts, but it’s hard to argue with a pitch that draws a 39.2 O-Swing% paired with a 66.3 O-Contact%.
Worth -1.2 pVAL in 2019, the four-seamer is where Vargas gets himself into trouble. Thanks to an average velocity of 84.5 mph, hitters teed off on his fastball to the tune of a 125 wRC+ and a .190 ISO/.829 OPS.
While this pitch’s results were better than its dreaded -18.1 pVal of 2017, Vargas’ two-seamer was still below-average in 2018 (-5.5 pVal). He reduced the frequency of the two-seamer’s usage some, but the pitch still ended up allowing a .387 wOBA.
One year removed from being the best pitch of its kind in baseball (21.5 pVal), Vargas’ changeup regressed hard to a -1.3 mark. One of the major factors was an extreme drop in IFFB% from 35.5% in 2017 to 12.0% in 2018. Since infield fly balls are essentially sure outs, that reduction led to more balls in play that were more likely to fall in for hits.
The bright spot of Vargas’ 2018 was the knuckle curve. He had career bests with a 13.3 SwStr% and a 37.1 K%, which led to a 2.3 pVal
His reduced two-seamer usage got reallocated to his four-seamer. The pitch earned a -2.8 pVal thanks to a .362 ISO and .393 wOBA.