Aside from the pitching staff, the future at third base has been one of the primary topics of discussion among fans of the Dodgers so far during the offseason.
There have been rumors of the team pursuing free agents like Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson with incumbent third baseman Justin Turner shifting to first base for the final year of his contract. Last week, we even explored a hypothetical deal looking at a trade for Kris Bryant of the Cubs which sort of fizzled out once we began breaking everything down.
About a month prior, we featured the prospect profile of 22-year-old Kody Hoese, who is currently ranked as the seventh-best prospect and the top third baseman on the farm. However, there is another youngster, 20-year-old Miguel Vargas, who may be on equal ground with Hoese.
Across two levels last year, the right-handed hitting Vargas slashed .308/.381/.440 with 38 doubles, three triples, seven homers, 77 RBI and nine steals over 124 games. He was named as a Low-A All-Star by Baseball America for the entirety of the 2019 campaign. Not long after being promoted to High-A Rancho from Great Lakes, Vargas earned Cal League Player of the Week honors in mid-August.
Currently, the 6-foot-3 Vargas is ranked as the organization’s 16th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline.
Perhaps his best game of 2019 came for the Loons against Fort Wayne on June 30, when he went 4-for-5 with two homers, a triple and a double in his squad’s 9-3 win. He finished a single shy of the cycle while driving in four runs and scoring four times.
Playing for the Raptors in the Pioneer League during the summer of 2018, he went 5-for-5 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored against the Helena Brewers.
Along with his father, Lazaro Vargas, Miguel defected from Cuba when he was just 16 years old with a future in baseball as his mission. When the scouting crew of the Dodgers caught wind of the La Habana native, they didn’t hesitate to make him an offer, eventually signing him for $300,000 in September of 2017.
Some of his success can be attributed to his father, who was a legend in Cuba, having played 22 years for the Havana Industriales in the island nation’s top baseball league. Needless to say, Miguel has been hanging around the diamond for as long as he can remember.
Perhaps the best parts about Vargas’ game are his professionalism and his composure—qualities that are rarely found in a prospect at such a young age.
“If you see him on the field, it’s a smooth, easy and relaxed playing style,” former hitting coach Dustin Kelly said about Vargas during his time with the Raptors. “And he’s got the same personality in the clubhouse. He’s got a big personality, but he goes about his business and people seem to really like him. He engages with people and he’s pretty infectious.”
As it stands, scouts have Vargas pegged for a 2022 arrival to the big leagues. Consequently, the way that the organization views both Vargas and Hoese right now could very well play into the team’s future plans at the hot corner.