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.