With Jon Lester headed to the Oakland Athletics, they moved Tommy Milone to Minnesota for Sam Fuld. Milone had requested a trade because he wanted out of Triple-A, and at first look it appears that failed as he was immediately assigned to Triple-A, but that is because he just pitched on Tuesday. Tommy won’t be on the Twins big league roster until this weekend at the earliest, which opens up a roster spot.
Enter Kennys Vargas, the Minnesota Twins first baseman of the future. Vargas has 17 home runs in 97 games in Double-A this year, and has a relatively low strikeout rate this season compared to years past. He is currently hitting .281 with an OBP of .360 and flashes power from both sides of the plate.
MLB.com ranks Vargas as the seventh best first base prospect in baseball, admittedly not a very strong position, and the 11th best prospect in the Twins system.
Vargas was signed as an undrafted free agent from Puerto Rico in 2009 as a third baseman, when he still weighed 215 pounds. He got as high as 285 when he was hit with a 50-game suspension for failing a drug test, but not for HGH or steroids, but for a banned weight loss supplement. He now carries 275 pounds on his 6’5” frame, but weight and conditioning are still a concern.
He is not that great defensively, having to move from third to first because of his lack of quickness and arm strength, and he still isn’t much of a fielder, so his success or failure will rely solely on his bat.
He has a career minor league average of .288 and an OBP about 80 points higher and his approach at the plate only seems to be getting better. His slugging is .486 in his minor league career, and that comes with a lot fewer doubles than you would expect from a guy with the power Vargas flashes, but he is as slow a runner as anyone in baseball.