This article originally appeared in Dodgers Nation.
The Dodgers have many prospects who are having excellent seasons. We just wrote about Jacob Amaya a few days ago and how he has stepped up his offense this season. Now we are going to talk about Miguel Vargas, who defected from Cuba in 2015 with his father, Lazaro Vargas. His father was an all-time great player in Cuba.
We last caught up with Miguel in early April at the last exhibition season game at Dodger Stadium.
Vargas had capped off a Spring Training that put him in the mainstream public eye, even if just for a while. This absolute bomb that he hit on March 23rd has not come down yet.
Miguel Vargas absolutely crushed this ball. Wow. pic.twitter.com/XZM872VC9o
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 23, 2022
Dave Roberts, the manager of the Dodgers had some good things to say about Vargas in Spring Training:
“He’s a special person. He’s a special ballplayer and he’s only going to get better, which is really exciting for the Dodgers.”
Once the season started, Vargas was the only top prospect position player for the Dodgers to start the season in Triple-A with the Oklahoma City Dodgers. Many of his contemporaries started in Double-A.
2021 In Brief
In 2021 the Los Angeles Dodgers named Miguel Vargas the Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year. Vargas spent 47 games with the Great Lake Loons where he slashed .314/.366/.532/.898 with a 142 wRC+. 11 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home runs, and 16 RBI earned him a much-deserved promotion on June 6, 2021. Vargas then appeared in 83 games with the Tulsa Drillers producing a slash line of .321/.386/.523/.909 with 16 doubles, 16 home runs, and 60 RBI. Vargas was not just opening eyes within the Dodgers system but minor league baseball as a whole.
He ranked third in AVG, sixth in OBP, seventh in SLG, and third in OPS among Double-A hitters. Vargas earned Double-A Central Player of the Month in August 2021 after leading the Double-A Central with 24 runs scored, 41 hits, and an OBP of .470. Vargas was second in OPS with a 1.090 and third in SLG sitting at .620 while having a league-best .410 batting average.
The Dodgers did not have to place him on the 40-man roster after 2021, but he was a non-roster invitee to 2022 Spring Training with the big-league camp.
Without a full season in Double-A, Miguel Vargas still got sent to Triple-A to begin the 2022 season. Statistically speaking, he got off to a bit of a slow start. His April numbers included a slash of .259/.363/.424 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 3 three home runs in 85 at-bats. He drew 14 walks and struck out 18 times. For many players, they would be happy with Miguel’s batting average and slugging percentage. However, the career slash of .315/.387/.482 was below his expected output.
At the end of April, Vargas started to heat up and carried it into May. Now that he seems to have settled in, he is really taking off. So far, his May slash is .368/.467/.632 with four home runs in 76 at-bats. He has struck out only 11 times while walking 14.
One more note about Vargas – his max exit velo this season of 112.7 mph is higher than any member of the Dodgers. Obviously Triple A pitching is easier to hit than MLB, but the point is that power is often the last tool to show up, and it appears to be doing that rn with Vargas. https://t.co/DOLrUZJNh4
— Josh Thomas (@jokeylocomotive) May 23, 2022
Looking at the above information from Josh Thomas of Dodgers Digest, the power is coming. When I first saw him in 2019 in Single-A there were plenty of warning track outs. However, he was still 19 years old. Now, he is getting more of that “man” strength so the power is coming.
What Is Next?
Miguel Vargas is one of the friendliest players I’ve run into during my coverage of the prospects in the Dodgers’ farm system. He is easy going but he also has great confidence in himself.
On the offensive side of the ball, he seems almost ready to hit major league pitching. If he was on a lesser team, he might already be in the major leagues. For now, he remains at Triple-A as his defense at third is still a work in progress. He has also received some starts at second base and first base. I believe he will make his debut with the Dodgers sometime this season. If he is brought up before mid-August it would probably be due to an injury. He will not be brought up early to just sit.
Vargas will be a player you will enjoy watching while being amazed at how good of a hitter he has become.