The Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday afternoon named infielder Miguel Vargas as the 2021 Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year and right-handed pitcher Hyun-Il Choi as the 2021 Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
The 21-year-old Vargas hit .319 (154-for-483) with 23 homers and 76 RBI in 120 games split between Great Lakes and Tulsa this year. He started the 2021 season with Advanced-A Great Lakes, hitting .314 (49-for-156) with 11 doubles, one triple and seven homers in 37 games. He was promoted to Double-A Tulsa on June 6 and finished hitting .321 (105-for-327) with 16 doubles, one triple, 16 homers and 60 RBI.
Among qualifying Double-A batters, Vargas ranked third in average (.321), sixth in OBP (.478), seventh in SLG (.523) and third in OPS (.909). The Cuban native was a Non-Roster Invitee to Spring Training this season, playing in eight games and scoring two runs in nine plate appearances. He has been with the Dodgers since signing as an international free agent on September 7, 2017 and has played in 297 minor league games, spanning four different levels with a .316 (371-for-1174) batting average and 32 homers with 183 RBI.
In his first full minor league season, Choi, 21, went 8-6 with a 3.55 ERA (42 ER/106.1 IP) and 106 strikeouts in 24 games (11 starts). The Seoul, South Korea native began the season with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga, posting an 8-3 record with a 3.17 ERA (23 ER/65.1 IP) and 75 strikeouts in 24 games (11 starts). He ranked third in Low-A with eight wins, while his ERA and WHIP ranked among the top 10 pitchers in the Cal League with at least 70.0 innings pitched.
Choi was promoted to Advanced-A Great Lakes on July 31 and has made nine starts for the Loons, going 0-3 with a 4.17 ERA (19 ER/41.0 IP) and 31 strikeouts against 11 walks.
Vargas and Choi will both be presented with their respective awards and honored in a pregame ceremony at Dodger Stadium on Friday, October 1 prior to the Dodgers’ game vs. Milwaukee and will be available for media at 5:00 p.m. on the field.
(Juan Dorado furnished the content provided in this report)