Dodgers Prospect Watch: Michael Busch on the Rise

michael_busch
(Bill Mitchell/Baseball America)

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.

5 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospect Watch: Michael Busch on the Rise

  1. I wonder where the Dodger front office ranks Busch’s hitting ability as opposed to Lux’s. Also his fielding. Nice to know that he’s played all over the place. If Lux works out at second maybe Busch is Pollock’s successor in left field. I’m anxious to see him in action in ST (assuming there is a spring training).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alongside a fair amount of decent, young pitching, the Dodgers appear to be plentifully stocked at catcher and the infield spots. If there’s an area where there might be a weakness as far as prospects go, it’s probably the outfield. There are a few sluggers among the group, but they lack dependable contact skills with the bat. Curious to see if anyone emerges in 2021. Hopefully, there are no delays with the season.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Outfield prospects are definitely a weak spot. Contrary to some others, I have no confidence in Cody Thomas, Luke Raley, DJ Peters, and certainly not Jeren Kendall to ever be a regular on this team. I am a little intrigued by Reks but I’m not sure he’ll be a regular either. The only outfield prospects I’m excited about are Pages, Rodriguez and Vogel and they’re all quite a ways away from making their MLB debuts. That’s why I wouldn’t at all mind seeing AF use some of our prospect capital to trade for a really good outfielder with at least 3 years of control, although I have no names in mind at this point.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.