Dodgers Prospect Watch: A Closer Look at Miguel Vargas

(Photo courtesy of Great Lakes Loons)

Continuing along with the profiles of several of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 2021 non-roster invitees to spring training, we stick to the infield, this time looking at the organization’s 11th-best prospect in third baseman Miguel Vargas.

In case you missed last Saturday’s column, we profiled the club’s No. 4 prospect in 23-year-old Kody Hoese. Vargas and Hoese are similar in the sense that they both play third base and they both hit from the right side of the plate, but Vargas might be a few notches down on the totem pole because he’s more than two full years younger than Hoese.

The 6-foot-3, 205-lb. Vargas was not among the organization’s 60-man player pool last year, but he was one of 41 Los Angeles players who took part in the Instructional League last fall.

Across two levels in 2019, 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 in mid-August, Vargas earned Cal League Player of the Week honors.

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.

And, speaking of good games, he went 5-for-5 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored against the Helena Brewers when playing for the Raptors in the Pioneer League during the summer of 2018.

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 a $300,000 bonus 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.”

According to MLB Pipeline, Vargas “thoroughly understands his swing mechanics, controls the strike zone and uses the entire field. He began driving the ball in the air more regularly in 2019 and could develop 20-homer power if he adds strength and gets more aggressive at the plate.”

Although he’s still diligently working to improve his range at third base on defense, some scouts believe that his strong arm might be his best asset.

As it stands, pundits have Vargas pegged for a 2022 arrival to the big leagues. However, that timetable might depend on what happens with Hoese, as the development of both youngsters could very well play into the team’s future plans at the hot corner.

10 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospect Watch: A Closer Look at Miguel Vargas

  1. Hoese has gotten all of the press but I like what I have read and seen of Vargas. He has good size makes contact and is young enough to develop into a 20 plus HR hitter. He has a great arm and is working on his fielding. Plus he has a great personality.
    The Dodgers have developed young infielders such as Hoese, Busch, Amaya, Vargas, and others, to be MLB-ready in a couple of years.

  2. No way to know if Hoese and Vargas both ultimately become first stringers here, but by the time they get here there will be three options for the two of them, third, first and DH. I’m assuming neither of them will wind up in the outfield.

    Lux started at short in today’s game and looked very comfortable there, including a play where he went deep into the hole and threw out the runner to end an inning with the bases loaded. His release was incredibly fast. The ball was no sooner in his glove than it was flying across the diamond.

    Who knows what ultimately happens with Seager, but our 2022-2023 infield might just be Hoese, Lux, Busch, Vargas.

    May looked great today. He wound up allowing a fair amount of runners, but his pitches looked better than at any time this spring.

    1. I watched the game today and I agree Lux looks good at SS.
      Seager’s continued play for the Blue is up in the air after this year. Between him stating he felt disrespected that rumors had the Dodgers looking at a Lindor trade, his wife stating they wanted to buy a Farm near the Family in NC and the fact his agent is Boras. All of us want Seager to continue to be a Dodger but you have to plan for every eventuality.
      Lux is a natural SS. Busch, Hoese, Amaya, and Vargas are all potential Dodger infielders.
      Seager, Lux, Smith, McKinstry, and Taylor have been on fire this Spring. Looks like the bench is Taylor, Barnes, Rios, Beaty, and McKinstry although Rios has not had a good spring offensively and Beaty has been just average.
      I wonder if Nelson has played himself onto the roster? How about Clevinger the team needs either Alexander or Clevinger as they need another lefty besides Gonzalez. It will interesting to see who is on the roster at season-opening and who is on the roster in October.

  3. Wasn’t really any competition for the 13 position players unless you consider peters vs Beaty but man the 5 pitching spots up for grabs was competitive and now it us getting real competive. I guess there are only 4 pitching spots if you consider Nelson a lock. See what happens as we begin to see real major leaguers in the lineup for the next 10 days or so. Time to start paying attention. By the way May looked pretty average against that team today in my view.

    competive to start

    1. Depending on how many innings they plan to give him wouldn’t it be better long term to have May play regularly in OKC? May needs to get experience and work on his secondary pitches. If Nelson and Price are going to be available as long men out of the bullpen?

      1. Price is going to start. Period. That is where he serves the team best. He can volunteer to pitch out of the pen all he likes, but the guy is and always has been a starter. You do not need two long men in the pen. And Gonsolin can fill that role as well. Vargas has not impressed me at all this spring, of course he has not played much. But Outman has impressed with some stellar defense. The 26 man is loaded. Some Padre fans were gloating about tying the game yesterday on twitter. I calmly reminded them that if this game had been in the regular season, the kid pitching in the 9th would not have been out there. Amazing how some fans can put so much credence on spring games.

  4. Prospects are suspects until they prove they are not. Dodgers have a lot of prospects, but some will end up being nothing but AAAA players. Those are players who produce at AAA, but never quite make the grade at the MLB level. And trust me, I can name a ton of them.

  5. Right bear. Dennis does a nice job keeping us up to date on these young guns, but in the final analysis its pretty irrelevent in the long term. If you look at our top ten prospects over the past 10 years there are only a few major leaguers. Belli, seager and Buehler. That’s it really. Apitcher, shortstop and outfielder. That’s why one third of the teams tank each year and never, never improve. Chicago and Houston exceptions.

    1. I do not agree that prospects are irrelevant. Prospects are what enabled the Dodgers to make the Betts trade. Prospects enabled the Dodgers to trade Maeda for Graterol or not sign Ryu as they knew they had pitchers to fill the spots. Drafting, signing, and developing prospects is what Kasten’s business strategy is based on. The Dodgers have spent millions building one of the best if not the best Minor League organizations in baseball. If you think Prospects and the Farm System are irrelevant look at the Angels!
      The Dodgers have players that will contribute to the MLB club. Urias, Buehler, Gonzalez, May, Gonsolin, Jansen. Kershaw, are all from the Minor League Organization as are Seager, Smith, Bellinger, Lux, McKinstry, Beaty, & Rios.
      The Dodgers have the best Pitching staff and Catching staff in baseball primarily because of the Farm System. Granted all teams sign free agents and pick-up players that are un-signed but even that is because they are scouted and developed by the organization. look how the organization developed Morrow and Treinen in the past.
      Prospects are not irrelevant. Top prospects will be an important trade piece in the future as will players like Hoese, Busch, Ruiz, Amaya, Vargas, Gray, Miller, Knack, and others.

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