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Jason Vargas' New Old Pitch

Should've thrown a curveball
Should've thrown a curveball

Just the other day, we talked about how Brandon League is working to refine and re-establish the slider he used to throw more often as a member of the Blue Jays. Now we hear that Jason Vargas is attempting something similar with his curveball. Vargas has never thrown his curve as often as League has thrown his slider, but he has always thrown a curve that he now wants to make better so he can use it with confidence in any count.

It makes sense that Vargas would want a breaking ball he can trust. When you think Jason Vargas, you think excellent changeup, and passable fastball. He's shown a slider/cutter, but it isn't great and he's thrown it almost exclusively to lefties. The curve has been so infrequent that I almost forgot he threw one in the first place. A decent curve would give him another pitch, and in particular another pitch he can throw to righties who last year saw 94% fastballs or changeups.

Is a better curve a pitch that Vargas needs? It isn't, because Vargas is a fine pitcher already, and he doesn't have a broad platoon split. But it's a pitch that could help, and unlike with League, it isn't like Vargas would start throwing a ton of curves instead of his changeup. Vargas is well aware of the pitch that's made him a Major Leaguer. He just wants to develop another look.

So we'll see if anything comes out of this. The ideal is that Vargas turns his curve into a solid third or fourth pitch that he can throw in any count to any hitter. More realistically, things probably won't go as well as he hopes, since it takes an awful lot of work to make a pitch better, but there's no harm in trying. Spring Training's long. There's time to experiment.