PHOENIX—For the fourth time in five years, the Diamondbacks appear to have turned to the independent leagues to uncover a potential big league contributor, this time in the form of infielder Ildemaro Vargas, who was added to their 40-man roster in November.
The switch-hitting Vargas, 25, was plucked from the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League a month into the 2015 season, and after a strong showing in low Class A last year he hit a combined .305/.360/.400 during stints with the Diamondbacks’ top three minor league clubs this season.
“We’re excited,” Diamondbacks scout Chris Carminucci said. “He’s one of those guys you find off the scrap heap and you throw back in there and see if he can run again, if the car drives. I think this one does, and I think he has a bright future.”
Carminucci said he makes notes when interesting players get released, which is what happened with Vargas in March 2015, when he was cut loose by the Cardinals.
After Vargas signed with Bridgeport, Carminucci touched base with then-Bluefish manager Ricky VanAsselberg, and found his way to Bridgeport to see Vargas play.
“He made a play going up the middle on a high chopper, barehanded it and threw it on the run,” Carminucci said. “You don’t always see plays like that in an independent league game. It just jumped out at me immediately. And he was like 4-for-6 in one of the games, too. That didn’t hurt, either.”
“What I foresee him as is a guy who is best used in a super-utility role,” Carminucci said of Vargas. “I think he can play all over the field. I think he can hit. I don’t think he’s going to hit for much power, but doubles power and an ability to hit for average. I really think this kid has a chance.”
• Tony Perezchica, a longtime coach in the Diamondbacks’ system, was he was named the third-base coach on Torey Lovullo’s staff.
• Robby Hammock, who has spent the past five years as a coach in organization, will also be on Lovullo’s staff in a quality control/catching coach role.