Dodgers Team News

Miguel Vargas: Prospects Insider Really Likes Dodgers Cuban Infielder

Dodgers prospect Miguel Vargas made a huge splash in the minor leagues last year, batting .304/.404/.511 in 520 Triple-A plate appearances. His brief time in the big leagues wasn’t nearly as impressive, but that hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm scout experts have for the 23-year-old Cuban.

Keith Law of The Athletic put out his Top 100 Prospects list on Monday, and Vargas came in at number 23, up 39 spots from last year. Law is, of course, high on Vargas’s bat, but he’s also impressed with his improved athleticism and defense.

Vargas was arguably the best hitter in the PCL last year, and certainly the best one under the age of 26, hitting .304/.404/.511 with just a 14.6 percent strikeout rate for Oklahoma City while playing four different positions, putting him in line to be the Dodgers’ second baseman this year if Gavin Lux slides over to short. Vargas has always been able to hit, but his body has improved substantially since he first broke out in 2019, when scouts questioned whether he’d get too heavy or slow-footed for third base; now he’s a plus runner underway and there’s no doubt he could stay at third or handle second. We didn’t see his best bolts in the majors but he’s topped 110 mph off the bat in the minors and hits a ton of line drives, with a swing that might make him more of a 40 doubles/20 homers guy than a 30 homer guy, although either way he’s likely to post OBPs in the upper .300s. I think he’ll be the former, a high-OBP hitter who smashes a ton of doubles, maybe getting to 50 or so in his peak years, with solid-average defense at second or third, but maybe has years where he hits “only” 15-18 homers and is quietly excellent instead.

To see Law say “there’s no doubt he could stay at third or handle second” is a big change. Compare that to what Law said last year:

He’s gone from having no chance to stay at third base to having a very small chance to stay there; he’s not very athletic or twitchy, with an above-average arm but probably lacking the quickness on his feet to play third base at an average level.

Vargas was a top prospect even when everyone assumed he would be a defensive liability; if he’s actually an adequate defender now, he’s legitimately a potential superstar. That’s a lot to be excited about.

Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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