24-year-old second baseman Michael Busch has gotten off to his hottest start as a professional.
Through his first 20 games at Double-A Tulsa this year, the lefty-hitting Minnesota native is slashing an impressive .286/.446/.671 with eight homers, three doubles and 20 RBI. What’s even more impressive is that he’s already drawn 19 walks, indicating a growing patience at the plate after punching out 129 times last year.
His eight long balls currently tie him for second in the pitcher-friendly Texas League.
Another note worth mentioning is that the 6-foot-1, 210-pound former first round pick made his professional debut in left field last week after playing there regularly during his tenure at the University of North Carolina. What’s more, he’s hitting a reasonable .278 against southpaw pitching this year after posting a sub-.200 average against lefties last season.
After a slow start to his 2020 campaign, Busch rebounded to slash .267/.386/.484 with 27 doubles, 20 long balls and 67 RBI at Tulsa last year. As a matter of fact, he saw his season average dip as low as .217 in the beginning of July before he finally started putting things together. In September, he hit a whopping .413/.491/.739 to finish out a solid season.
On defense, Busch has shown vast improvement, specifically at second base, which is still a relatively new spot for him. Last year, he committed just seven errors in 312 total chances playing second. Busch had an average arm when he was drafted, but scouts feel he has made significant strides with his strength and release over the past two years.
Heading into the 2022 season, MLB Pipeline ranked Busch as the organization’s third-best prospect.
Even though Busch has outperformed Tulsa teammate Jacob Amaya offensively, Amaya might be ahead of Busch in the organizational infield depth only because he’s already on the 40-man roster. Nevertheless, if Busch continues to swing the bat well — while showing patience at the dish — he could be in store for a promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City sometime soon.
Coincidentally, 24-year-old Tulsa teammate Ryan Ward is tied with Busch for second place in the Texas League home run race. Ward is a lefty-hitting outfielder who was selected by the Dodgers in the eighth round of the 2019 draft, about 200 picks after Busch was chosen.
Regardless, it will be interesting to keep an eye on Busch as the season progresses, if only to see when he earns his promotion.
Tulsa’s road game on Thursday against Wichita was rained out for the third straight night in a series that was supposed to begin on Tuesday.