When your father is on a postage stamp in your home country, that is a lot to live up to.
So third baseman Miguel Vargas certainly has the bloodlines. His father, Lazaro Vargas, is a baseball legend in Cuba where he played 22 years for the Havana Industriales in Serie Nacional, the country’s top league, and was a member of two gold medal-winning Olympic teams in 1992 and 1996.
Miguel was on the same path when he played for Cuba’s top international teams as a teenager. But the father-son duo defected to the United States after Miguel turned 16. Almost two years later, Miguel signed with the Dodgers in 2017 for $300,000.
Since then, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Miguel Vargas has done nothing but hit at every level he’s touched.
Now 21, Vargas earned a promotion to Double-A Tulsa in June. His first taste of the upper minors did not slow him down. Counting his time at High-A Great Lakes, he had hit .299/.354/.534 through 49 games.
Vargas had already surpassed his career high with 11 home runs.
“It’s come maybe even quicker than we could have expected,” Dodgers farm director Will Rhymes said. “We thought eventually he would have good power. But the fact that he’s putting it all together so quickly this year has been impressive.”
Vargas was not at the alternate training site in 2020, but it was hardly a wasted year for him. He continued working out with fellow Cuban and Dodgers prospect Omar Estevez in Miami with Dodgers front office consultants Placido Polanco and Raul Ibañez checking in on him.
“It hasn’t looked that difficult for him. He’s kind of stepped right in,” Rhymes said of Vargas handling the promotion to Double-A this year. “He’s making it seem real smooth and easy . . .
“The fact that he has stepped in and performed is an indication of the type of hitter he is.”
—Top pitching prospect Josiah Gray was finally back on a mound as June wound down. The righthander was shut down after he experienced shoulder discomfort while trying to warm up for his second start of the season in early May. He started throwing live batting practice in late June and was expected to rejoin Triple-A Oklahoma City at the start of July.
—Double-A Tulsa third baseman Kody Hoese spent the second half of June on the injured list with an injured lat/intercostal muscle. The injury is not considered serious, but the decision was made to put him on the IL as a precaution. The 2019 first-rounder was hitting just .178 with a .465 OPS at the time of his injury.