Miguel Vargas: Dodgers 2022 Minor League Player Of The Year
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Miguel Vargas had the season the Dodgers were expecting from the 22-year-old this year. And that is saying something.
The third baseman started the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City, getting his first taste at the highest minor league level and doing what he had done at every other level—hit.
In 113 games, Vargas batted .304/.404/.511 with 17 home runs, 16 stolen bases, 71 walks and 76 strikeouts.
“I’m just doing the same,” Vargas said of handling Triple-A pitchers. “I’m lucky. I have a great staff in the Dodgers’ organization and they helped me a lot. Then I had a lot of veteran guys (as teammates).
“There’s not just playing the game. There’s playing the game the right way.”
Vargas cited Kevin Pillar, Jake Lamb, Eddy Alvarez, Andy Burns and Tony Wolters as veterans who helped him improve.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts got his first real look at Vargas when he participated in big league camp this spring. What he saw excited him and was “reaffirmed” by what he saw when Vargas finished the season in Los Angeles.
“He has a slow heartbeat. This whole third deck doesn’t bother him,” Roberts said. “He’s a student of the game. He loves watching baseball, learning. That’s something that I thought and has been validated.
“He’s special in the batter’s box because he has the hit tool. He can manipulate the barrel. He can hit to all fields. Righthanded spin doesn’t affect him. And he has a simple, sound swing . . .
"He does everything. He hunts pitches. He values the walk. He does everything a young hitter is supposed to do. He’ll be special for a long time.”
Vargas has faced questions about his ultimate position. He played third base, first base and second base in the minors. This year, he added left field and handled it well enough that it might become his primary spot.
Vargas said he has gained increasing comfort in the outfield and readily acknowledges defense is crucial at higher levels, such as the big leagues.
— The Dodgers’ first pick in this year’s draft, catcher Dalton Rushing hit the ground running in his pro career. The second-rounder out of Louisville hit .424 (42-for-99) with 11 doubles and eight home runs in 28 games with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga. He was promoted to High-A Great Lakes in time for the Midwest League playoffs.
— Catcher Diego Cartaya and righthander Gavin Stone were named the Dodgers’ minor league player and pitcher of the year. Cartaya split the year between Low-A Rancho Cucamonga and High-A Great Lakes, getting his most extensive playing time as a pro. Stone started the season at Great Lakes and finished it with Triple-A Oklahoma City. Through 23 games this season, Stone had recorded a 1.56 ERA. In his first three Triple-A starts he struck out 15 in 11.1 innings.