New York Mets Jason Vargas
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

The New York Mets’ Jason Vargas has had a rough season, but he was stellar in a rehab start for the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Jason Vargas finally found his level of competition — the New York-Penn League.

Pitching in a rehab start for the Brooklyn Cyclones on Monday night, Vargas tossed 6.0 innings of one-hit ball, striking out nine and walking zero.

Surprisingly, Vargas was more effective in his rehab outing than Noah Syndergaard was in his on Sunday evening. Vargas lasted six innings for the first time all year, quickly becoming the most expensive ace in NYPL history.

Vargas inked a two-year, $16 million deal this offseason. Despite being one of the priciest free agent signings, he has a club-worst 8.60 earned-run average and has only won twice in nine tries.

“He knows how to pitch,” Cyclones manager Edgardo Alfonzo said following the game. “You don’t have to throw hard to get guys out. He was good, pitched pretty good, it was good to see that from him.”

Despite exiting with a 1-0 lead, the Cyclones dropped Monday’s game to Staten Island after Mike Ford and Miguel Flames took Joshua Walker deep in the seventh inning.

Vargas was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained calf on June 21. He hurt the calf during a conditioning drill and has been out for longer than expected.

Vargas wasn’t available for comment after the game. Alfonzo says that although he didn’t speak to Vargas about his calf, “The way he threw, it looked like it was a little better.”

Alfonzo believes that Vargas’ successful outing can possibly turn things around for him, even though it was just short-season Single-A. “I think when you have confidence, it’s important,” Alfonzo said. “It looked like he had confidence today.”

Vargas was incredible until the All-Star break last season, but FanGraphs reminds us that he was still Jason Vargas. While he was getting a lot — a lot — of swings-and-misses, he was still only throwing 70 to 88 miles-per-hour.

It appears that nothing has changed this year, except that hitters are getting their bats on the ball and turning that into hits. This season, opponents have a .367 BABIP, the worst mark of Vargas’ professional career.

Catcher Nick Meyer was behind the plate for both Syndergaard and Vargas, calling the former pitcher “unreal” to catch. Alfonzo says that he worked well with both of them and that it should help him in the long run.

Corey Oswalt, Vargas’ replacement in the rotation, allowed just one hit in six innings in the night game of the Mets’ doubleheader Monday, but walked three and gave up a bases-clearing double to Aaron Nola, the Phillies’ starting pitcher.

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.