2023 Los Angeles Dodgers Player Reviews: Miguel Vargas

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

Miguel Vargas opened the 2023 season as the starting second baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City after some lackluster results in his rookie campaign.

Trouble began in Spring Training, when Vargas suffered a fracture to his left pinky finger, which hindered his ability to take swings for a brief stretch. The Dodgers instructed Vargas to take at-bats during Cactus League games as a means of helping him further hone his eye for the strike zone.

It turned out to be a move that garnered some positive results from an on-base percentage standpoint.

However, Vargas would again be hit on the hand early during the regular season, and his struggling ways never let up to see him post a consistent run. In 304 plate appearances, he hit just .195/.305/.367 with 15 doubles, four triples, seven home runs, 32 RBI and 36 runs scored.

Vargas also underwhelmed defensively after making the change to becoming a full-time second baseman. In the Minor Leagues, he was primarily a corner infielder, but he was never rated well with the glove.

After 81 games, Vargas was optioned to OKC on July 9, and he didn’t return to the Dodgers for the remainder of the season.

In 60 games for OKC, Vargas posted a 119 wRC+ with 10 home runs, 43 RBI and 45 runs scored. A bulk of his damage at the Triple-A level came in September, when he carried a .900 on-base plus slugging percentage over a 19-game stretch.

Miguel Vargas 2023 highlight

Vargas’ best game in his young career came on May 2 against the Philadelphia Phillies. With Freddie Freeman out of the Dodgers lineup, Vargas led the offense with a 4-for-5 night at the plate, with three of his hits being doubles.

Vargas had three RBI and two runs scored in the Dodgers’ 13-1 win over the Phillies.

2024 outlook

The Dodgers addressed a huge need in their outfield by signing Teoscar Hernández to a one-year contract to shore up an everyday spot.

Dodgers general manager Brandon Gomes hinted at the possibility of Vargas seeing some time in a corner outfield spot prior to the addition, but that avenue has closed.

The likelihood that Vargas sees significant time on the Dodgers roster is slim.

He could still be had on the trade market, but perhaps the buzz around Vargas as a prospect also cooled down, leaving him to force his way onto the Major League roster for playing time. The Dodgers generally don’t keep young players on the bench as they find immense value in allowing them to remain in the Minor Leagues for everyday at-bats.

Mookie Betts set to play second base also blocks the path for Vargas at that position, and Max Muncy is locked in at third base for the next few seasons.

Vargas will likely begin the year in Triple-A and serve as depth when the Dodgers are in need of a replacement bat, but he still projects to be a solid part of their future.

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