At this point last season, Jason Vargas and Todd Frazier had become the latest laughingstocks in a long line of embarrassing misses in free agency for the New York Mets. Vargas had proved to be unreliable on the mound, and the once reliably healthy Frazier showed that even he was susceptible to injury once donning the blue and orange. Moving into the season, the two were seen as lowlights on a team that entered the year with expectations of competing for a playoff spot. With the team beginning to struggle, the two that had taken the most flack as Mets have begun to play to their actual potential.
It is important to remember that before joining the Mets, both Vargas and Frazier had been All-Stars. Vargas registered his All-Star season the year before he joined the Mets, 2017, while he was a member of the Kansas City Royals. He compiled an impressive record of 18-11, but his ERA of 4.16 made teams weary of signing him. The Mets took a leap of faith, and signed Vargas for two seasons and $16 million. His first season with the team was an absolute disaster, as he went 7-9 with a 5.77 ERA.
This season began rough for Vargas as well, but things have since turned around.
After not being able to escape the first inning against Atlanta on April 14th, Vargas has been on top of his game. Whether or not it was the appearance of a man who looked to be straight from the 18th century during the post-game presser of that dreadful game in Atlanta we will never know. What we can definitively say is that Vargas has only allowed two earned runs over his last three starts, and has even added 17 strikeouts over that stretch. The most impressive of those outings was the complete game shutout that he threw on Wednesday against the Giants, in which he lowered his ERA to a team second-best 3.57.
Meanwhile, Frazier has been tearing the cover off of the ball for the past 30 days. From making smart plays like butcher-boying a run in with the shift against him, to hitting wall-scraping home runs, it seems as if the ball is finding open space for Frazier. This wasn’t the case last season for Frazier, who hit an abysmal .213, while hitting 18 home runs and driving in 59 runs. While no one expected Frazier to hit for average in New York, he needed to do better than those numbers to validate his contract with the team.
Like Vargas, Frazier struggled in his first appearances of the season, and he made it a challenge for Mickey Callaway to find a spot for him in the lineup. In the past 30 days though, Frazier has an OBP of .400, and an even more impressive average of .311. His average for the season is now up to .246.
Whether or not it is too late for Vargas and Frazier to make their contracts successful for the Mets is yet to be seen. Both of them are on a Mets team that is only two games under .500 though, and both are looking to push this team to be more successful.