Although the Los Angeles Dodgers focused on pitching in the 2019 MLB Draft, one of the exceptions to that was Michael Busch, an infielder out of the University of North Carolina who was selected by the club with their second pick (No. 31 overall) in the first round.
The Dodgers received an additional first-round pick in this year’s draft as compensation for failing to sign J.T. Ginn last summer. He was taken 30th overall but never came to terms and wound up attending Mississippi State.
Busch signed for the full slot value ($2.31 million) and began his professional career with the Arizona League Dodgers. He only appeared in five games for the affiliate before earning a promotion to Low-A Great Lakes.
However, Busch’s time in the Midwest League came to an end after five games because he was hit by a pitch in the hand. The 21-year-old had been participating in Instructional League during the offseason before being assigned to the Glendale Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League.
Considering he didn’t spend much time on the field this past season, Busch readily welcomed the opportunity to log at-bats and go against top prospects, per
“I didn’t get too many at-bats this summer,” said Busch. “It was a good opportunity to come play with some good talent, a bunch of prospects here. It’s a good time and I definitely can learn a lot. The pitching here is top of the line, so getting to see that will help get me going for next year.”
Entering Wednesday, Busch has appeared in four games for the Desert Dogs. He’s batting .333/.647/.667 with one home run and one RBI. His remarkable on-base percentage is buoyed by eight walks during the brief time in the AFL.
Along with shining at the plate, Busch is continuing to work on his positional flexibility. He primarily played first base and left field for the Tar Heels but was drafted by the Dodgers as a second baseman.
Busch has drawn comparisons to newly-minted All-Star Max Muncy, particularly with Busch also being a left-handed hitter.
“Michael is a guy who we thought was one of the better bats in the Cape, both in terms of performance and swing, as well as overall defensive versatility,” Dodgers scouting director Billy Gasparino said after the first day of the 2019 Draft.
“He’s been a staple in the UNC program. They rave about his makeup and his character, and we’re excited to add him to our organization.”