For those who are regular readers of this site, you’ll know that we spend a great deal of time dedicated to the minor league affiliates of the Dodgers, often spotlighting some of the best prospects throughout the entire system.
No question, the 2020 season was a different animal. Without an official minor league season, it’s tough to say how many of these young players will be facing any types of setbacks. The good news, though, is that a small group of prospects who weren’t part of the team’s 40-man roster had the chance to train with some of the older players, thanks to last year’s special 60-man player pool.
23-year-old infield prospect Michael Busch was one of those players.
Having arrived at the alternate training site on July 11, Busch was officially the 58th player added to the pool. However, it didn’t take him long to impress the scouts who were on hand evaluating these prospects.
According to Kyle Glaser at Baseball America, Busch was one of the Top 6 players across the MLB “who got the loudest and most consistent raves” in camp this year.
In January, Jim Callis of MLB.com put together a series of rankings highlighting the game’s best prospects by position. Surprisingly, Busch appeared on the list as the sixth-best second base prospect in all of baseball.
It wasn’t that long ago when the left-handed hitting Busch was selected by the Dodgers as the 31st overall pick in the 2019 draft out of the University of North Carolina.
Billy Gasparino, the Dodgers’ director of player development, called Busch an “elite left-handed hitter,” comparing him to current Los Angeles slugger Max Muncy.
Said Gasparino not long after Busch’s selection, “Michael is a guy who we thought was one of the better bats in the Cape Cod League, both in terms of performance and swing, as well as overall defensive versatility. He’s been a staple in the UNC program. They rave about his makeup and his character, and we’re excited to add him to our organization. We’re going to challenge Michael and start at second base.”
Coincidentally, Busch split time at first base, shortstop and left field at UNC. Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranked Busch as having the best overall power grade among all the second base prospects.
After playing a handful of games in the Arizona Rookie League in 2019, the 6-foot, 205-pound Busch arrived at Low-A Great Lakes in time to appear in five games, going 2-for-11 with two RBI and six walks.
His time in 2019 was limited after suffering a hairline fracture in his right hand, but he still participated in the Arizona Fall League, logging five games for the Glendale Desert Dogs while going 3-for-13 with one home run. Perhaps what stood out the most was that he walked nine times in the AFL against just four punchouts, allowing him to score six runs.
According to Mayo, Busch’s “advanced approach at the plate allows him to wait for good pitches to drive.”
MLB Pipeline had this to say about the Minnesota native: “Busch masterfully controls the strike zone, waiting for pitches he can attack and taking walks when pitchers refuse to challenge him. His sweet left-handed swing features plenty of bat speed and his balanced approach allows him to drive the ball to all fields. He should hit for average and power while drawing more than his share of walks, giving him one of the highest offensive ceilings and floors among 2019 draftees.”
Busch hit 33 homers over his final two years at North Carolina.
Indeed, the Dodgers have a handful of players who can handle duties at second base—including Chris Taylor, Gavin Lux, Zach McKinstry and Muncy (to a degree)—but Busch might still be part of the big league discussions at some point next year, especially if Lux continues to struggle at the plate.
MLB Pipeline currently has Busch listed as the fourth-best prospect in the Dodgers’ organization.