Making the Grade: Ranking Designated Hitters in the AL Central

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No. 5: Kennys Vargas, Minnesota Twins

Apr 13, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins designated hitter Kennys Vargas (19) hits a single in the fourth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

At one time, it looked like it wouldn’t be long before Kennys Vargas inched his way toward the top of this list.

Vargas was a .288 hitter across nearly six minor league seasons, and was so highly touted he skipped Triple-A altogether on his way to the big leagues. In parts of six minor league seasons, Vargas clubbed 59 home runs and was off-the-charts as a hitter. He drove in runs at an astounding clip, producing 93 RBIs in just 125 games in Single-A in 2013.

But the game has caught up with him, as it seems he may have progressed too quickly.

Only in his second season in the big leagues, Vargas has posted a career .261 batting average and clubbed 11 home runs in just 73 games. His strikeout-to-walk ratio (63-12) is putrid, but should only improve with additional exposure to major league pitching.

While Vargas was swinging and missing at just 17 percent of fastballs last season, Vargas has whiffed on 32 percent of similar offerings in 2015. He is mired in a dreadful slump and he’s been benched on a number of occasions by first-year manager Paul Molitor already this season.

Vargas is not the prototypical designated hitter who is going to hit for power and drive in a large number of runs. Thus far this season, the young switch-hitter is hitting just .224/.272/.316 while he’s driven in five runs with two home runs. He is predominantly a singles hitter which suggests the Twins might be better served finding an alternate position for him.

As this first month of the season has progressed, it has become a fair question whether or not Vargas even deserves to be in the lineup.

He’s been that bad.

Next: No. 4