Michael Busch was a first baseman in college at the University of North Carolina, but the Dodgers saw more defensive ability in him, immediately moving him to second base after drafting him in the first round in 2019. Busch has moved steadily up the minor-league ladder since then, culminating in a 2022 season that saw him whack 70 extra-base hits in Double-A and Triple-A.
Busch showed up at No. 7 on Baseball Prospectus’ Dodgers prospect list, released last week, and prospect expert Brandon Williams foresees another position change in Busch’s future, sort of.
Busch is a well-rounded offensive contributor, capable of driving the ball to all fields and contributing from any spot in the lineup.
His versatility also extends to the defensive side, where the second baseman by trade manned left field and first base at times last season. While he’s not flashy with the leather, his athleticism and baseball IQ allow him to provide adequate defense at multiple positions. Busch may be most valuable as a super-utility player, capable of spelling teammates across the diamond while providing some offensive firepower.
Busch has played second base, first base, and left field. For him to be a true utility player, it seems like he’d have to add third base to his toolset (assuming center field is out of the question). The thing is, the Dodgers don’t really need anyone to fill in at first base, because Freddie Freeman plays nearly every day. Second and left aren’t quite enough to make him a utility player. The question would be whether he has the arm for third base; MLB.com gives his arm a 45 on the 20-80 scouting scale, which is below average, but they also note that he’s been working hard to improve his arm strength.
If Busch can become a viable option at third base, he could be that utility player BP talks about. Everyone agrees that his bat is ready for the big leagues; the question is how to get it into the lineup.
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