Dodgers Prospect Watch: Miguel Vargas Progressing Nicely

vargas
(Photo Credit: Great Lakes Loons)

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.

 

24 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospect Watch: Miguel Vargas Progressing Nicely

  1. I’ve been watching Vargas ever since they signed him. Won’t be long until teams start asking for him in trades, but you’re right, he and Hoese may factor into how AF plays the third base free agent situation. Donaldson might make more sense because of a shorter, cheaper contract.

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      1. 2022 huh? Rendon gonna be our DH? And how do they both fit in the plans? They are both outstanding third basemen. I also wonder how long they plan to keep Corey at short.

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  2. Vargas isn’t rated that high defensively, but has a good arm. He has an advanced hitting approach. He doesn’t strikeout a ton and his power should improve as he matures. Hoese is two years older and considered better defensively and already has more power.. neither are expected to reach Dodgers until at least 2022, so yes if Dodgers are really high on them, and Seager isn’t moved, nor extended, then Donaldson may be the better fit. In addition, you didn’t mention #17, Devin Mann or Cristian Santana, #23, who both play 3B and could arrive sooner.

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    1. I read the scouting reports too and they all read like this:

      “Most of Vargas’ value is going to come from his bat, so he’ll need to hit more home runs in order to become a big league regular. His solid arm works at third base but he lacks quickness and range. To his credit, he improved his body last offseason and has shown more speed and defensive ability at the hot corner this year.“

      He’s played a few different positions, including first, but he knows he has to improve at third base to have value in the bigs. Playing first base is the kiss of death to a young right hander.

      We have depth at third and catcher. Where’s the whiz shortstop?

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      1. Lux, Downs and to a lesser extent Amaya. Where the Org. Is short on prospects, is the OF, which is why I dont’t think they trade Verdugo.

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      2. The reason I asked about shortstop is because I read the scouting reports and they read like this:

        “Downs gets the most out of his average speed, parlaying his aggressiveness and instincts into stolen bases. He played shortstop in his pro debut but spent more time in 2018 at second base, where his arm and range are better fits. He returned to shortstop at the beginning of 2019 and there’s also a possibility that he winds up in center field, but the good news is that he has the bat to profile at all three positions.“

        Amaya says second base as well. It felt to me we are grooming utility guys. I’m not Downs with that. It’s Amaya pinion that these young players should focus on one position, learn it well, develop the batting skills and move up. Professional utility players are all over the place. Look how many we already have.

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      3. Almost all middle infielders have at least some experience at both 2B and SS. They have to, as not all rookies come up and immediately start, plus as I recently pointed out in another post, versatility in a necessity the way rosters are constructed now, with 12-13 man pitching staffs and 4-5 man benches, including a backup C. Chances are the majority of middle infielders drafted played SS in HS or College, because at those levels, that is where your best players.athletes are. Then, they are evaluated when they reach the minors, some become 2B men as there primary position, due to their arm or range limitations. Even in the minors, there is not one designated back-up for each position. Versatility is valued. You all may recall that Kyle Farmer played SS in College, then was converted to C/3B in the Pros.

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      4. I think it’s a mistake. But, he’s the boss.

        It would appear we have a lot of utility infielders and no stud shortstop. Maybe with all the fly balls being hit they aren’t valued as highly? But then…. we sure value ground ball rates in pitchers

        We used to talk about “up the middle” defense. Is that no longer a thing?

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      5. Lux is the #2 rated SS prospect in all of baseball. How much more studly do you want? But, I agree about up the middle defense, which is why I’d prefer to see Lux at 2B and keep Muncy at 1B. At least barring any major trade or free agent signing, that would change the IF composition.

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      6. I get the versatility Gary. I played all three right handed infield positions in college. But I did that because I wasn’t a STARTER at any of them. Versatility gave me a roster spot. I just don’t like our top prospects being groomed as utility players.

        If they don’t sign a third baseman, if it were up to me I would move Seager out of short and put Lux there. From what I’ve read, including metric evaluations, Muncy isn’t horrible at second. In my opinion part of the reason he hasn’t impressed defensively is because he hasn’t focused on one position. Utility roles come easy to some, Taylor and Hernandez come to mind, even Turner when he was younger, but I don’t see that in Muncy. It’s also my opinion, and only an opinion, that young players shouldn’t be given too much to think about. That said, I also think shortstops can play anywhere, but first, second and third baseman cannot. If Vargas is a third baseman, put him there every game. If Downs is a shortstop, put him there every game. He can become a utility guy, like Taylor did, later if necessary.

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  3. Not as versed on the farm as you guys obviously are. It is rated 3rd in the majors right now. I do check the top 30 to see how they are doing when the season is here. A couple of outfielders who were supposed to be the future fell off the map, Kendall and Heredia. There are only 3 outfielders on the top 30 list right now. But May and Lux are still on the list. Ruiz is # 3.

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      1. I think they are still on because they still have rookie status. Once they have enough at bats or innings pitched, they will drop from the list.

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  4. Interesting how Friedman acolytes are getting jobs all over MLB, in some of the most important markets.

    Boston, San Fran, Atlanta.

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    1. Getting the job isn’t as important as being successful!! Lets see if launch angle is still successful in 5 years or do we look for players who can drive in runs when not striking out.

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