Cypress College alumnus Jason Vargas Joins Angels Starting Rotation After Trade from Mariners
In 2003, Jason Vargas was a member of the California State Championship baseball team at Cypress College. Yesterday, Vargas one of 18 Chargers alumni to play Major League Baseball was traded to the hometown Angels.
The Angels yesterday acquired Cypress College alumnus Jason Vargas in a deal that brings the left-handed pitcher back to Orange County. With the Halos, Vargas joins a starting-pitching rotation with two others who played community college baseball in the Orange Empire Conference.
Vargas was the Southern California Player of the Year in 2003 at Cypress College, as the chargers captured the state championship. He was a co-MVP of that tournament batting .414 with 7 RBI in the playoffs, and a 2-1 record on the mound as he recorded 21 strikeouts in 19 innings. Opening the championship series, Vargas struck out 11; in the final game, playing first base, he went 2-3 to help secure the championship.
A member of Cypress College's athletics Hall of Fame and one of 18 alumni to reach the Major Leagues, Vargas finished his collegiate career at Cal State Long Beach and debuted with the Florida Marlins in 2005.
"He was a big factor in us winning the state championship that year," said Scott Pickler, the Chargers' head baseball coach. "It's pretty unusual to have a guy hit .374 and strike out 101. It's never happened in the 28 years I've been here."
Of his reaction to yesterday's trade, Pickler said: "I was excited because he's such a good kid. I'm sure he's excited to come home. I do communicate with him every once in a while. I'll let him get settled and call him in a few days."
In his lone season at Cypress College, after transferring from Louiana State University, Vargas recorded 11 wins, 1 shy of the college record, tying him for 4th place in the single-season record book. He's 10th in single-season strikeouts with 101, 7th on the career ERA list at 3.10.
"He was as good a two-way player as we've had," Pickler said. "He hit in the 3 or 4 hole. He had a feel for the game."
Pickler specifically recalled Vargas' intensity and his swagger. "He was very confident, but not cocky. He competed."
Three of the Angels starting pitchers played community college baseball in the Orange Empire Conference, Pickler noted. Tommy Hanson studied at Riverside City College, and C.J. Wilson is a Santa Ana College alum.
"It just shows the power of how good this league is that you have three of the five starting out in the Orange Empire league," Pickler said.
Cypress College's Major League Baseball players are: Brian Downing; Trevor Hoffman; Jeff Patterson; Jason Bates; Augie Ojeda; Charles Gipson; David Newhan; Keith McDonald; Steve Smyth; Keith Ginter; Gerald Laird; Cory Sullivan; Jason Vargas; Ben Francisco; David Huff, Brandon Laird; Taylor Green; and Brandon Barnes.
Downing, the only other Angels player in the group, is the lone player who was not coached by Pickler.
Posted by Marc S. Posner