Dodgers Minor League pitcher Jesus Vargas Signs With Mets
View of a Los Angeles Dodgers cap on the mound in the bullpen at Dodger Stadium
Robert Beck/Sports Illustrated

The Los Angeles Dodgers lost pitching prospect Jesus Vargas as he agreed to a Minor League contract with the New York Mets.

Vargas joins Nelfri Contreras and Carlos Santiago as Dodgers prospects who are joining a new organization as both were selected on Wednesday during the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft.

Originally from Venezuela, Vargas was signed by the Dodgers on Dec. 2, 2014. He had been with the organization since, however, was never promoted past High-A.

In 102.1 innings with the Great Lakes Loons this past season, the right-hander pitched to a 4.40 ERA and 4.95 FIP in 24 games (14 starts) while striking out 7.74 batters per nine and walking just 1.23 batters per nine.

This year marked his first season back on the mound in two years as he injured his shoulder near the end of the 2018 campaign that caused him to miss all of 2019. Vargas then missed all of 2020, along with every other Minor Leaguer, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that cancelled their season.

In his Minor League career, Vargas owns a 3.65 ERA in 274 innings while striking out 7.32 hitters per nine and walking 1.61 per nine across 68 games (47 starts).

Although there is still a lockout in effect, MLB clubs are permitted to sign Minor Leaguers as they are not part of the Players Association.

Dodgers add three players in Rule 5 Draft

While the Dodgers have seen some departures, they also added three new players to the organization on Wednesday during the Rule 5 Draft by selecting Kekai Rios, Carson Fulmer and Jon Duplantier.

In the first round, the Dodgers selected Rios from the Milwaukee Brewers, a 24-year-old catcher who was taken in the 28th round of the 2018 Draft by the Brewers.

This past season in High-A, he hit .270/.357/.410 with a 112 wRC+ and earned a promotion to Double-A, though only played in six games.

In the second round, the Dodgers made a notable selection in Fulmer from the Cincinnati Reds.

Fulmer, 27, pitched for Vanderbilt University with Walker Buehler and he was selected eighth overall in the 2015 Draft. That was a mere 16 spots before Buehler was taken by the Dodgers.

Although he has struggled to find any footing at the Major League level, Fulmer was previously one of the highest-ranked prospects in baseball and still has elite fastball and curveball spin rates.

In the third round, the Dodgers selected another former top pitching prospect in Duplantier, from the San Francisco Giants.

Duplainter, 27, was taken by the Diamondbacks in the third round of the 2016 Draft. By 2018, he was the Diamondbacks’ No. 1 prospect and the 80th-ranked prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline.

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