Michael Busch made a successful Triple-A debut last season, so he went into the winter knowing there were no big leaps forward that he needed to make.
But there was one aspect the 25-year-old third baseman definitely wanted to improve.
“I wanted consistency,” Busch said. “I wanted my bad weeks to become bad days . . .
“Through at-bats and experience I felt like I was able to get there this year.”
Drafted 31st overall out of North Carolina in 2019, Busch was consistent enough this season to lead the Pacific Coast League with a 1.029 OPS and earn three separate callups to Los Angeles.
“It’s always been a dream when I was younger,” Busch said of making his MLB debut. “It never really seemed like it was realistic, in a way. As I’ve gotten older and done some things, it started to feel a little more realistic.”
Through 93 games with Oklahoma City, Busch hit .324/.429/.607 with 24 home runs. From June 30 until his Aug. 22 callup, his 17 homers were the most in the minor leagues. Only Matt Olson matched him in MLB.
The best reflection of Busch reaching his goal of being a more consistent offensive player came shortly after he was sent down by the Dodgers in late June.
He collected hits in 21 of his first 25 games after his demotion and started a 39-game on-base streak. He reached base in 42 of 43 games at one point.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Busch “earned” the big league time he got by “taking care of what you need to take care of in Triple-A and dominating that.”
“I think he just managed his at-bats considerably better. It didn’t seem like he was overmatched,” Roberts said of Busch’s development over the course of the season.
“For me, I think it was a positive year for Mike.”
— Righthander Kyle Hurt became the second member of Double-A Tulsa’s Opening Day rotation to reach the big leagues when he was called up by the Dodgers on Sept. 25. The 25-year-old was a fifth-round pick by the Marlins in 2020 whom the Dodgers acquired along with reliever Alex Vesia in a trade for Dylan Floro. Hurt arrived in the big leagues with the highest strikeout rate (14.8 per nine innings) among all minor league pitchers with at least 15 starts.
— Outfielder Kendall George hit .362 with 11 stolen bases in 16 games in the Arizona Complex League, then moved to Low-A Rancho Cucamonga and went 16-for-42 (.381) in 12 games with six stolen bases. The 18-year-old was the Dodgers’ first pick in this year’s draft out of high school in Humble, Texas.