Jose Vargas (minors12)
Jose DeJesus Vargas
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 225 lb.
Jose Vargas has hit over 200 homers in his pro career and has played for the Mexican national team.
Vargas was taken by the Chicago White Sox in the 22nd round of the 2008 amateur draft. He debuted that summer with the Bristol White Sox, batting .232/.255/.426 as a backup corner infielder. In '09, he was with the Great Falls Voyagers (.333/.381/.563, 7 HR, 35 RBI in 36 G) and Kannapolis Intimidators (.191/.211/.318 in 31 G). He spent all of 2010 with Kannapolis, batting .254/.305/.402, backing up at 3B, 1B and the corner outfield and apparently playing DH regularly.
He then moved on to the independent leagues. In 2011, he began a long run with the Traverse City Beach Bums. He produced at a .261/.331/.478 clip with 28 doubles and 63 RBI in 96 games, playing third and short. He was second in the Frontier League in two-baggers. The next year, he improved to .290/.346/.576 with 6 triples, 29 dingers, 78 runs and 100 RBI while fielding .956 at the hot corner. He was 3rd in the league in runs, tied for 3rd in triples, 2nd in home runs (two behind Chad Cregar), 1st in RBI (7 ahead of Cregar), 1st in total bases (236, 12 ahead of Cregar) and 2nd in slugging (.023 behind Cregar). He was the All-Star third baseman and MVP. 
The Ventura native slipped to .262/.315/.464 in '13 with 25 doubles and 9 steals in 9 tries; he went deep 12 times. He tied for 7th in doubles. In 2014, he batted .266/.321/.426 with six homers for the Beach Bums. His fifth year there, he hit .314/.359/.468. He remained with Traverse City in 2016 and hit .298/.346/.508 with five triples. He was 6th in the league in triples and possibly in the top 10 in slugging (depending where the cut-off was).
Jose moved to the Rieleros de Aguascalientes in 2017 and produced at a .290/.340/.586 clip with 23 home runs. He was 3rd in the Mexican League in homers (behind Rainel Rosario and Corey Brown) and slugging (behind Yadir Drake and Jesús Valdez). He had a strong winter as well, at .255/.372/.598 for the Tigres de Aragua with 17 home runs and 53 RBI in 55 games, drawing 32 walks and scoring 33 times. He tied for 10th in the Venezuelan League in runs, was second in homers (one shy of Valdez), was second in RBI (8 behind Valdez), was third in total bases (110, behind Valdez and Balbino Fuenmayor), drew the 8th-most walks, was second in slugging (.033 behind Valdez) and was 4th in OPS (between Luis Jimenez and Fuenmayor). 
The Mexican League split into a spring and fall schedule for 2018. He hit .248/.289/.497 with 9 HR in 40 games in the spring season and .294/.361/.528 in the fall (with 11 HR and 33 RBI in 49 G). He was tied for 8th in the Mexican League in homers. In the winter, he batted .224/.316/.344 for Aragua with 6 homers and 33 RBI in 52 games, but 70 K in 183 AB. He tied for 9th in circuit clouts, tied Olmo Rosario for 4th in RBI and led in strikeouts (12 ahead of Delmon Young). 
Vargas kept on pounding the ball in '19 with the Rieleros and Acereros de Monclova, hitting .334/.372/.693 with 71 runs, 32 homers and 78 RBI in 83 games. In a high-offense year, he tied Yamaico Navarro and Félix Pérez for 8th in home runs and would have been second in slugging (behind Chris Carter) had he qualified.  He struggled that winter for the Tomateros de Culiacán (.196/.220/.339).
He made the Mexican squad for the 2019 Premier 12, starting at third ahead of Phillip Evans. He and Evans were from the only US-born players of Mexican descent on the team, which also included Jon Jones, Arturo Reyes, Matt Clark, Brennan Bernardino, Horacio Ramirez, Ryan Verdugo, Justin Kelly and Efren Navarro. He struggled at the plate, going 0 for 18 with two times plunked and one run while handling 15 chances error-free at the hot corner and first base. Mexico still won a spot in the 2020 Olympics, but those were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He had the most at-bats for any player in the event who went hitless; Chih-Chieh Su was next at 0-for-16.