Dodgers Prospect Watch: Miguel Vargas Still Rising

vargas
(Photo courtesy of Great Lakes Loons)

While it seems like infielder Miguel Vargas has been contributing to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ farm system forever, he’s still just 21 years old, having recently begun his latest stint with the High-A Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League.

So far this year, Vargas has been one of the more productive hitters for Great Lakes, at least as far as average goes. Through the first 28 games of the season, he has slashed an impressive .322/.375/.504 with nine doubles, four homers, and 11 RBI over 115 AB. He’s the only player on the team with the minimum amount of qualified AB who’s hitting over .300.

Recently, Vargas has been hitting out of the leadoff spot for the Loons, undoubtedly for his superb contact skills rather than his quickness on the basepaths. One of his best games this season came hitting cleanup on May 14, when he went 3-for-5 with a home run on the road against West Michigan.

Vargas has settled in nicely as the everyday third baseman for Great Lakes; but sticking with the Los Angeles philosophy of versatility, he has also appeared minimally at both first and second base already this season.

As far as the organizational depth chart goes, it’s tough to gauge exactly where Vargas fits in because of the presence of so many journeyman utility players like Sheldon Neuse, Elliot Soto and Andy Burns. However, when considering all the true third base prospects in the system, Vargas is right there in the Top 4 with Kody Hoese, Cristian Santana, and Devin Mann, who has surprisingly seen quite a bit of action at the hot corner for Double-A Tulsa this year.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound 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. More importantly, he was included among the team’s non-roster invitees to the big-league side of 2021 spring training.

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, back when the Quakes and Loons had there organizational levels reversed.

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 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.

14 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospect Watch: Miguel Vargas Still Rising

  1. Too bad Vargas isn’t nearly ready to make the jump to the big club this year. He’d really benefit by having some every day exposure to Albert, especially since Pujols has also played first and third during his career.

    Assuming that Pujols actually retires this year, I wonder if there is any chance the Dodgers would attempt to sign him for some sort of roving instructor role. He probably wouldn’t be thrilled with traveling to all those minor league spots but hopefully there will be a role of some sort for him when he finally hangs them up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. On a completely different subject, I’m taking a day off and heading to PNC Park for the middle game on Wednesday. Reports suggest that might be the day that Gonsolin rejoins the rotation. Hopefully, the rain and thunderstorms stay away.

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      1. Not a COMPLETELY different subject Dennis. It’s still the Dodgers.
        Now, if you’d started a discussion on ant farms or hotel accommodations in Mazatlan…………………..
        I guess if you don’t see Catman it will be Buehler, so either way it should be good. Good luck with the weather and enjoy the game.
        I know I ask you this at least once a year. How far are you from PNC and how far from Citizens Bank Park?

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      2. Actually, I’m like dead between. I live not too far from Penn State University. I can make it to Philadelphia in about 2 hours, 30 minutes. Pittsburgh is closer to three hours. However, Pittsburgh is much more nice on so many different levels. At least I think so.

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      3. Everyone loves PNC. I’ve never heard that about CB so I guess heading toward Pittsburgh is probably a good idea if you’re going for a ballgame. Although I’ve done my fair share of traveling, I’ve never been to Pittsburgh or Philly. I imagine both have their good points as cities.

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      4. I lived in Phila for about four years when I was much younger. I’ve always said that while it’s a fantastic place to visit, I will definitely never live there again. The residents of each city are worlds apart in my opinion.

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      5. I guess the residents of Philadelphia are known for “attitude”, so I’m assuming that’s what you’re referring to.

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    2. Pujols has said he wants to keep playing. He has been more productive as a Dodger, and I think his clubhouse impact is significant. But I do not think AF would bring him back as a player.

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  2. I saw Miguel Vargas play last night with the High-A Great Lakes Loons. Nothing to report as far as skills exhibited, but sizewise and athletically he reminded me of Corey Seager at the A level.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback Waldo. We’ll make you our eyes on the ground for everything Loons related. Would love to hear your comments on some of the other guys when you have something to report.

      Vargas certainly has the pedigree since his father was a baseball hero in Cuba. Hope he develops the same way his Dad did.

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  3. The positional talent appears to be Valera, Vargas, Pages, and Outman. At ~100 PA, Pages looks ready to advance a level. Often Loons players play only part of a season here before being moved up. Pages has that Dodger’s lift to his swing, but it’s very compact so he’s not reaching. Reminds me of what a young Jimmy Wynn looked like.

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    1. I’ll settle for another Jimmy Wynn any time. 🙂

      Valera and Pages interest me. Hopefully they make good progress this year.

      The braintrust seems to like Outman. They certainly gave him a lot of at bats during ST this year.

      I guess we’ll never know the full details of that failed trade with the Angels that supposedly included Pages. Considering that they were getting Joc and Strip and Pages I always thought an unnamed outfielder might be coming back, someone like Jordyn Adams maybe.

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  4. Graterol activated and sent to OKC. Muncy day to day with a mild ankle sprain. Will most likely sit until they get to Pittsburgh. Bauer today. With the increased scrutiny on substances on the ball, it will be interesting to see if the umps target him again like they did earlier in the year. He needs to be careful with the Braves since his Achilles heel this season has been the HR. This is a HR hitting team.

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