Dodgers Name Vargas, Choi as Minor League Players of the Year

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)

6 thoughts on “Dodgers Name Vargas, Choi as Minor League Players of the Year

  1. Very excited about Vargas. Everywhere Vargas has gone he has proven he can make contact and has potential power. He is still young at 21 (22 in Nov) and will get stronger so his power numbers will improve. He has a 6″ 2-inch frame and can play 3rd, 1st, and the corner outfields. This young man will probably be in OKC next year with a possibility of a call-up. I love players that can make contact and has a little power.

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  2. I’m with you Tmax. I’m really looking forward to seeing Vargas’ progress over the next year or two. He was 3 years younger than the average player at AA this year and still had fantastic stats. He also struck out less than 20% of his at bats.

    At this point, I think the position players I’m watching most closely in the minors are Vargas, Pages, Busch, Cartaya and Eddys Leonard. Although none have reached AAA yet, I think all of those guys have terrific potential.

    Choi was bit of a surprise to me but I will now make sure to watch him more closely. I’m a big Miller fan and thought he might get the award. Not that any of that matters in terms of who actually succeeds at the major league level and, after all, that’s what’s really important.

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    1. I am with you on your player choices. I need to watch Choi and Eddys Leonard as I am not familiar with them. I am a big Miller fan. Knack & Beeter have been impressive at times along with Pepiot. Dodgers have incredible pitching depth. I am concerned with position players as we had to play guys in the outfield not having stellar years…LOL/ There is a very real possibility Seager signs elsewhere. I wish they would sign him but it’s a business. So young guys like Vargas and Busch and others are just on the horizon and we may need them next year. Pages has been impressive and Noda has made a splash with his power since arriving late this season. Looks of good-looking prospects coming but another year or two out. Thanks to the tip from Dennis I have been watching MLB minor league ball. Has Lux turned the corner?

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  3. If you think about next year the Dodgers will have a very solid line-up no matter what happens with Seager and Taylor. My only concern with the team for 2021 is their inability to score runs without hitting home runs. This team when faced with elite pitchers has a very hard time manufacturing the run that is critical in close played games when playing a team that is at parity. Injuries have played a part but this 2021 team despite its wins does not feel like it has the heart of the team in 2020. I like players that can make contact. Seager is someone that can do that along with the Turners, Pollock, Betts. It will be interesting to see what the team looks like in 2022 and when they actually play. I think it will be a strike-shortened season. I do not think this 2021 Dodger team wins or even plays in this year’s WS. I hope I am mistaken.

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    1. Why Choi?

      I knew Kershaw was in trouble right away. His first 2 pitches were 90 mph fastballs that missed high. He knew he couldn’t throw that pitch for strikes as the Brewers would clobber them. Then sliders over the plate. The balls being put in play were all hit hard. Sad to this happen to him. Will he have surgery and come back at 35? If anyone can do it it’s him. It’s a tough road back from that procedure at that age. Why would he do it? He’s got generational money and a young family.

      Offense appears to be waking up. Hope Muncy gets it going. We are a different club when he’s thumping.

      Too bad the giants are playing a team that has quit.

      If it’s the Cardinals, and it looks like it is, I think we beat them and beat them good. I think this team wants the giants and they know what they must do going forward.

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