|No. 22 — Carlos Vargas, SS
|Acquired: Free Agent, 2015 — Dominican Republic
The Mariners spent some cash on Vargas ($1.625 million) last summer — almost every blue cent of their $2.153 million pool — and hope it pays off with an offensive force. Vargas is likely to move off shortstop, but he does show clean, smooth actions and consistent throwing mechanics (I witnessed about 30-40 minutes of Vargas taking infield last summer) that suggest third base is a real possibility.
He’s 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds and possesses plus raw power that he’s displayed consistently. That bat speed is plus and the swing is simple, though he did stride aggressively after starting with a wide stance and using a prominent leg kick before trying a simpler, less violent way to keep his legs involved. The hands are quiet and his hips rip his hands through the zone. He’ll use the entire field and handles the outer quarter of the plate well for a teenager.
Vargas, like Torres, needs to get stateside this season to get his path to the majors started. Vargas shouldn’t be an issue, however, since his brother Emilio has gone through the experience as a prospect in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization and he was in Seattle last summer to work out, clearly showing no issues with his visa, which tends be a significant issue with players from Latin America.