ILDEMARO VARGAS, SECOND BASEMAN
Born: July 16, 1991
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 180
Bats: Both
Throws: Right
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2008 (Cardinals)
How Acquired: Waiver Claim (from Cubs)
Country: Venezuela
Agent: N/A
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
Vargas was a light-hitting utility infielder who served for years as an organization player in the Cardinals’ system and then Arizona’s.  He moved very slowly up through the minors, but in 2015-16 suddenly started to hit better.  He seldom swings and misses, but doesn’t walk much or hit for more than modest power.  In his major league time, he’s had a moderately large platoon split, with an OPS of .726 against LHPs and .627 against RHPs.  Vargas runs pretty well.  He’s played mostly second and short in the minors, and second in the majors.  He’s also played some at first and in the outfield corners.  The Pirates claimed him off waivers.

2008
VSL:  231/310/231, 26 AB, 3 BB, 3 K, 1-1 SB

Vargas played very briefly in his debut.

2009
VSL:  264/368/374, 163 AB, 7 2B, 4 3B, 1 HR, 20 BB, 29 K, 9-17 SB

Playing mostly second and some short, Vargas did well at the plate, helped by good plate discipline.

2010
R:  239/317/364, 88 AB, 7 2B, 2 3B, 8 BB, 10 K, 2-5 SB

Vargas played short in the Gulf Coast League, but didn’t get a lot of playing time and saw his hitting fall off.

2011
R:  289/391/395, 152 AB, 11 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 23 BB, 17 K, 4-4 SB

The Cards sent Vargas to the GCL for a second season and he improved, getting on base a lot and seldom striking out.  He more at short than second.

2012
R+:  322/383/457, 230 AB, 15 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 17 BB, 24 K, 8-14 SB
A-:  083/083/083, 12 AB
A+:  364/462/500, 22 AB, 3 2B, 4 BB, 5 K

Vargas filled in briefly in high A and then went to advanced rookie ball, where he hit very well, with more power than previously.  He spent most of his time at second.

2013
A:  248/304/305, 419 AB, 15 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 31 BB, 49 K, 8-12 SB

Finally reaching full season ball in his sixth season, Vargas continued making contact consistently but didn’t hit much.  He played mostly at short and some at third.

2014
A+:  241/271/292, 431 AB, 17 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 16 BB, 51 K, 1-5 SB
AA:  000/000/000, 10 AB, 1 K

The Cards sent Vargas to high A where he mostly played third.  He struggled at the plate.

2015
A:  321/385/438, 336 AB, 18 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 35 BB, 16 K, 9-15 SB
IND:  273/316/318, 110 AB, 5 2B, 6 BB, 9 K, 7-8 SB

St. Louis released Vargas during spring training and he caught on with Bridgeport of the independent Atlantic League.  In May, Arizona signed him and sent him to low A.  He hit well there, but considering that he turned 24 in July, you’d expect that he would.  He played about three-quarters of the time at short and the rest at second.

2016
A+:  250/250/250, 4 AB 2 K
AA:  276/325/372, 323 AB, 15 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 24 BB, 24 K, 8-8 SB
AAA:  354/418/449, 198 AB, 13 2B, 2 HR, 20 BB, 13 K, 13-14 SB

The Diamondbacks sent Vargas to AA and he hit decently.  Two-thirds of the way through the season they moved him up to AAA.  He hit very well there, although playing at Reno in the Pacific Coast League probably helped.  Vargas played short in AA and second in AAA.  A little surprisingly, the D’backs added Vargas to their 40-man roster after the season.  Baseball America rated him the 28th best prospect in the Arizona system.

2017
R:  375/375/375, 8 AB, 1-1 SB
AAA:  312/355/462, 487 AB, 35 2B, 4 3B, 10 HR, 30 BB, 40 K, 8-11 SB
MLB:  308/308/385, 13 AB, 1 2B, 3 K

Vargas spent most of the season in AAA, although he made his major league debut in June.  Playing mainly at second, he hit well in AAA, although the hitters environment at Reno again probably played a role.  BA ranked him 24th in the system.

2018
AAA:  311/348/445, 537 AB, 31 2B, 10 3B, 7 HR, 30 BB, 46 K, 10-14 SB
MLB:  211/250/368, 19 AB, 1 HR, 1 BB, 4 K, 1-1 SB

Vargas again spent most of the season in AAA and his hitting was nearly identical to the previous year.  He mostly played at short.

2019
AAA:
  403/473/553, 124 AB, 9 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 11 BB, 5 K, 1-2 SB
MLB:  269/299/413, 201 AB, 9 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 9 BB, 24 K, 1-1 SB

Vargas this time spent much of the season in the majors.  He hit reasonably well, although his walk total was too low for him to have a decent OBP.

2020
MLB (Ari):  150/190/150, 20 AB, 1 BB, 5 K
MLB (Minn):  227/250/364, 22 AB, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 BB, 2 K
MLB (ChiC):  222/222/556, 9 AB, 1 HR, 3 K

During the pandemic season, Vargas transited through three major league teams, getting just limited playing time with each.

2021
MLB (ChiC):  143/250/238, 21 AB, 2 2B, 3 BB, 7 K, 1-1 SB

The Cubs outrighted Vargas during spring training, but called him up twice during the season.  The Pirates picked him up on a waiver claim.

When the Pirates claimed Vargas, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Colin Moran and Phillip Evans were all out with injuries.  None were expected to be out all that long and the team had utility players already in Erik Gonzalez and Wilmer Difo.  All three are out of options, so somebody will have to go once of the injured players returns.  Of course, with the Pirates’ self-defeating obsession with playing infielders in the outfield, Vargas will probably get a lot of time there.

UPDATE:  Not surprisingly, Vargas went just 1-for-13 for the Pirates and was designated for assignment at the end of May.

CONTRACT INFORMATION
2021: Major League Minimum
2019:
$557,000
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: 6/29/2017
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2025
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 11/18/2016
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2017, 2018, 2019)
MLB Service Time: 2.028
TRANSACTIONS
June 3, 2010: Signed by the Washington Nationals as an international free agent.
March 30, 2015: Released by the St. Louis Cardinals.
May 26, 2015: Signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks as a minor league free agent.
November 18, 2016: Contract purchased by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
August 6, 2020:
Designated for assignment by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
August 11, 2020: Traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Minnesota Twins for cash considerations.
September 2, 2020: Designated for assignment by the Minnesota Twins.
September 5, 2020: Claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Twins by the Chicago Cubs.
March 28, 2021: Designated for assignment by the Chicago Cubs; outrighted to alternate site on March 31.
April 13, 2021: Called up from alternate site by the Chicago Cubs.
April 16, 2021: Returned to alternate site by the Chicago Cubs.
May 4, 2021: Called up by the Chicago Cubs.
May 15, 2021: Designated for assignment by the Chicago Cubs.
May 17, 2021: Claimed off waivers from the Chicago Cubs by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
May 30, 2021: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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