When Kennys Vargas first arrived on the major league baseball scene, people were like, “Is he a switch hitter or are there two of them?” Then when it turned out there were multiple Kennys, people started gossiping like they were in a sewing circle, “Is it fair if there’s more than one Kenny in the batter’s box at once?” To those people I submit, it could be worse, they could’ve stayed Siamese twins. Did you know both Kennys got in a fight when a reporter asked them if they’d seen their slash line lately? They pointed to their Siamese twins separation scar and said they see it every day. (I’m just going by what I saw on the latest Ken Burns documentary. If Kennys is one person and was never a Siamese twin, I sincerely apologize. By the by, never trust anyone who says they sincerely apologize. They’re trying too hard to be believable. I saw that on another documentary. Netflix’s motto, “We Prove People Will Watch Documentaries.”) Last year, Kenny/Kenny hit 9 homers and .274 in 53 games. Crown Kenny-slash-Kenny the new Babe Ruth and name multiple candy bars after them. “I’m Heath and I’m Skor, and we’re the same but separate.” That’s the Kennys in a commercial. Okay, so 9 homers in 53 games isn’t exactly the meow’s cat, until… Oh, no, here comes The Prorater! Run, it’s The Prorater! Four women and children first! The Prorater tells me that Kennys would’ve had 27 homers in a full season, and that would’ve just about led the league. Damn, that last part didn’t sound like The Prorater but more like Hyperbole Man. So, what can we expect of Kennys Vargas for 2015 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
Well, dur, he’s not being drafted until the last rounds. That goes a long way to being a sleeper. If he can stop swinging at everything, that would also go a long way to helping him. For players with 230 plate appearances last year, he had the 25th highest swinging strike rate. Having a high swinging strike rate is a good way to have a shizzy average. C’mon, Kennys, get it together — that’s not another Siamese twin crack. Swinging at balls outside the strike zone can also hurt, and he does that too. Adam Jones, Jose Abreu, Carlos Gomez were as equally ‘bad’ as Kennys. Though, those (almost stutterer!) guys do make better contact with pitches outside the strike zone. (Hit a ball outside the strike zone and it’s not usually hard contact, but at least you’re hitting it.) His ability to make contact with balls inside the strike zone is just above league average, but, when he hits it, the ball goes a long way. The good news is at one point he had contact issues in the minors too. In Rookie ball, he had a 26.2% strikeout percentage, then the next year he had 22% then 20.2% and finally in Double-A it was 16.8%. That’s right, he never even played in Triple-A, so it’s understandable he struggled in the majors. Oh, and as mentioned in the intro paragraph, he didn’t struggle that much; he did hit .274 (though with a high BABIP). You didn’t hear much about Kennys before his call-up, because he’s not that exciting in real baseball terms. He’s got the agility of a drunk sloth, and is slated to DH. In fact, he won’t have 1st base eligibility in ESPN leagues, because he only played there 13 games last year. He could get it during the year — who knows what will happen with Joe Mauer — but he’s just a UTIL bat in leagues that need 20 games played at a position. Since his power is real and beautiful, I definitely like the late-round gamble on him. For 2015, I’ll give him 74/25/83/.251 with upside from there. Just don’t ask him about his slash line.