While some players in the Dodgers system like Diego Cartaya, Miguel Vargas and Bobby Miller have been stealing the latest prospect spotlight for the upcoming Futures Game, Michael Busch has been chugging along in the shadows, climbing his way to the top of the prospect totem pole.
Along with righty pitcher Andre Jackson, Busch had his own shot in the 2021 version of the Futures Game. Both players impressed, considering that coaches from each league had to split playing time between 25 different players. Jackson threw one scoreless inning of one hit ball, while Busch went 1-for-1 with a single in his only plate appearance.
Regardless, we’re not here to talk about the Futures Game, at least until we see how this year’s trio performs over the weekend. What’s more noteworthy right now is that Busch may finally be approaching the point of being a legitimate big-league candidate.
If you’re an avid follower of this site, you’ll know we’ve always equated Busch with a whole lot of potential without the stats to back it up. In previous seasons, it was tough to gauge Busch’s development because of a wrist injury his first year in the system and the coronavirus shutting down all minor league activity back in 2020.
However, the 24-year-old lefty-hitting Minnesota native has emerged as one of the team’s most promising position-player options. To boot, he has become a legit option at second base in the event the Dodgers need to move Gavin Lux to shortstop if Trea Turner lands elsewhere this coming winter. Although some fans might cringe at a potential Lux/Busch middle infield right now, it could become a reasonable option over the next few years.
After having begun the year at Double-A Tulsa, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Busch earned his promotion to Oklahoma City on May 17. He currently leads the entire organization with 21 home runs this year, with 10 of them coming at the Triple-A level. After his season average dipped below the Mendoza Line during his first week at OKC, he has rebounded to produce a combined .270/.362/.550 slash line with 19 doubles and 61 RBI for the season.
And then Michael Busch did some unspeakable things to a baseball for this 20th overall home run for the lead! pic.twitter.com/x5uRB4CWgd
— Oklahoma City Dodgers (@okc_dodgers) July 3, 2022
Defensively, Busch has appeared in 60 combined games at second base, seven in left field and seven as designated hitter, showing his versatility to move a bit around the park.
In a perfect world, the Dodgers would like to see Busch elevate his .250 Triple-A average, especially in the hitter-friendly confines of the thin-air stadiums of the Pacific Coast League. However, scouts will be eager to see how Busch progresses in the second half of the season, especially if uncertainties surrounding Turner’s potential return remain unresolved.
With several potential deals looming for the Dodgers, Busch might be a player the team wants to protect as the 2022 MLB trade deadline takes center stage.