LONG BEACH, Calif. - Former Dirtbag and current Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jason Vargas was named to the American League All-Star Team, and is set to make his first MLB All-Star Game appearance on July 11 in Miami. Vargas is the current American League leader in Wins (12), ERA (2.22), and WAR (4.4), making him an easy selection for the AL pitching staff.
Following Marco Estrada’s All-Star nod in 2016, this is the second year in a row that a former Dirtbags pitcher will make his All-Star Game debut. This will also be the 10th consecutive All-Star Game with at least one Long Beach State product on the roster. Over the last decade, Long Beach State has garnered 13 All-Star selections via five different players: Troy Tulowitzki (2010-11, 13-15), Evan Longoria (2008-10), Jered Weaver (2010-12), Estrada (2016), and Vargas (2017).
After making just three starts during the 2016 season following Tommy John surgery, Vargas has been resurgent in 2017, putting together a stellar year for the Royals. His current ERA is nearly two runs lower than his career mark, and he is just two victories shy of matching his career-high in wins (14 in 2012 with Seattle). The 34-year-old lefty has allowed just 89 hits in 101.1 innings pitched, recording 74 strikeouts against 24 walks.
Vargas was a terrific two-way player in his lone season with the Dirtbags in 2004, serving as a starting pitcher and designated hitter. On the mound, he went 7-6 in 17 starts with a 2.46 ERA. At the plate, Vargas was a .354 hitter with a .469 on-base percentage. He had five home runs, 14 doubles and 33 RBIs, and impressively drew 40 walks compared to 41 strikeouts.
Following that memorable 2004 season, Vargas was a 2nd Round draft pick in the 2004 MLB Draft by the Florida Marlins, where he made his MLB debut in 2005. Vargas is now in his 12th big league season, which has featured stints with the Marlins, Mets, Mariners, Angels and Royals. Fittingly, Vargas will return to the city where his MLB career started, playing in the recently opened Marlins Park in Miami.
The 2017 MLB All-Star game will be played on Tuesday, July 11 at 5 p.m. PT. The game will be televised live on FOX.
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