On June 29th the Arizona Diamondbacks promoted infielder Ildemaro Vargas to the major league roster. He was optioned back to Triple-A Reno about two minutes after I sat down to write this article but he should be back in the majors later in the year. Here’s a quick summary.
Vargas is from Venezuela and was originally signed by the St. Louis Cardinals back in 2007. He topped out with eight games in Double-A in 2014 but was caught in the numbers game and drew his release. He spent a month in the independent Atlantic League in 2015 then was signed by Arizona as a free agent.
He shot up the ladder in 2016, hitting a combined .305/.360/.400 between Double-A and Triple-A. He’s continued to hit in 2017, batting .303/.343/.447 for Reno until his recent promotion.
Vargas ranked 20th on the Arizona Diamondbacks Top 20 prospects for 2017 list with the following comment:
20) Ildemaro Vargas, INF, Grade C+/C: Age 25, from Venezuela; hit .305/.360/.400 with 21 steals in 22 attempts, 37 walks, 44 strikeouts in 525 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A; best position is second base but not bad at shortstop and third, also has some outfield experience; lacks power but makes contact; glove and speed put him in contention for a utility spot. ETA 2017.
He’s a switch-hitter, listed 6-0, 170, born July 16th, 1991. The pre-season “lacks power” comment needs fleshing out: he’s not a home run hitter, but he is not completely punchless and can find the gaps for distance, particularly to the opposite field.
Vargas is somewhat aggressive and won’t draw large numbers of walks, but he doesn’t strike out much either. His speed is a bit above-average and he is very adept at using it: he’s 28 for 32 as a stealer since signing with Arizona.
Overall, his combination of versatility, speed, and line drive switch-hitting can make him a solid bench option.