The Dodgers are promoting top prospect Miguel Vargas, reports Juan Toribio of MLB.com (Twitter link). J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group first reported that Vargas was reporting to the team.
Vargas was a consensus top-100 prospect heading into the season, and his status was bumped up to 28th (Baseball America) and 68th (MLB Pipeline) in midseason updates of those prospect rankings. The rather wide variance could relate to questions about Vargas’ defensive future, as his glovework has received only a 45 grade on the 20-80 scouting scale. Vargas has mostly played third base in his career and also seen some time at second, but many evaluators think he could be a first baseman in the future.
That will put more pressure on Vargas to hit if he might be ticketed for a first base or even DH spot, yet there isn’t much question about Vargas’ bat. With strong contact, the ability to hit to all fields, and increasing power numbers, Vargas is looking like a force at the plate, and he has hit .291/.382/.497 with 15 home runs over 437 plate appearances at Triple-A this season.
The Dodgers made Vargas an international signing in 2017, two years following his defection from Cuba. The 22-year-old will now become the latest in a long line of intriguing homegrown prospects for Los Angeles, and he could get some extra opportunity as a right-handed hitter on a roster of mostly left-handed bats. Vargas could see action around the infield, particularly with the banged-up Justin Turner relegated to DH duty after missing several games with an abdominal injury.
With Chris Taylor expected back from the injured list within the week, Vargas’ big league call-up might not amount to move than a cup of coffee, though the Dodgers have been willing to give more playing time to youngsters in big situations if their play warrants such extra usage. In the bigger picture, Turner and Max Muncy could both be free agents after the season, so a good showing from Vargas could impact the Dodgers’ plan for retaining either of those two veterans (both of whom are having underwhelming 2022 seasons).