2021 Dodgers Top 50 Prospects: No. 3, 3B Miguel Vargas

Miguel Vargas. Photo by: Dustin Nosler

We’ve reached the final three of the Top 50 Dodgers prospects. If you’ve ever followed me or this series, it should be no surprise who’s up next — one of my personal favorites.

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Previous Entries

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I’ve included Future Value (FV) grades and risks for the Top 50 prospects. For example, if a guy gets a “50 low,” he has a really good chance to be an average player at his position. If a guy gets a “55/High,” there’s a good chance he won’t reach that ceiling, but the potential is there. The grades are 20-80 (50 is average), and the risks are as follows:

  • Low: Players who are usually older, have debuted, are relievers and/or have higher floors than ceilings
  • Medium: Players who are a mix of younger and older, usually have higher floors
  • High: Players who are usually younger with potential, but also question marks
  • Extreme: Players who are generally younger with star potential, but a ton of question marks

This is to show what value a player might provide at the MLB level. The higher the risk, the less likely a player will reach that ceiling.

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Editor’s Note: I am not a scout (#notascout). I am an amateur when it comes to evaluating players. I don’t claim to be a pro, I just want to pass along the information I observe/obtain to the people. Notes and comments are based on personal observation, talking to sources, reading scouting reports and watching video. For future entries in this series: All ratings in the charts below are on the standard 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is roughly average, 80 is elite and nearly unattainable and 20 is unacceptably poor. Enjoy.

Other Notes: “Role” is a realistic future role (slightly optimistic in some cases). Age is the 2020 season age for the player (June 30 is the cutoff date). “Comps” are usually the best-case scenario based off stature and production. They in no way guarantee the player will mirror the career of the comp.

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Rating Key

80 — Elite
75 — Borderline Elite
70 — Plus-plus
60-65 — Plus
55 — Above-average
50 — Average
45 — Fringe-average
40 — Below-average
30-35 — Poor
20-25 — Very Poor

3. Miguel Vargas

DOB: 11/17/99Age: 21Height: 6’3Weight: 205Bats: RightThrows: RightPosition: 3B

Acquired: International free agent (Cuba), September 2017, $300,000 signing bonus

Strengths: Plus-hit tool, opposite-field approach, good throwing arm

Weaknesses: Present power still lacking, some question about 3B long-term

Key statistics: .308/.380/.440, 9.8 BB%, 14.8 K%, .132 ISO (2019 A/A+)

Role: First-division third baseman

Player comparison: Yandy Diaz

Summary: One of the more unheralded international signings in recent years, the modest $300,000 investment the Dodgers made in Vargas could pay off. He has some of the best bat-to-ball skills in the system and has plenty of potential yet to be unlocked.

Vargas looks the part of a big leaguer at the plate. He has an up-the-middle/right-center field approach and can spray line drives from foul pole to foul pole. He has good bat speed and control, great hand-eye coordination and an advanced feel for hitting. That all combines to give him a chance to be a 60-grade hitter, as he has good pitch recognition and doesn’t chase a lot. The biggest knock on his offensive game is the lack of present power. He has the frame to easily have 60 power, but he hasn’t gotten to it quite yet. He did increase his fly ball and pull rate in his late-2019 promotion to Rancho Cucamonga, so it’ll be interesting to see if those improvements carry over to 2021. If the player development staff can get Vargas to tap into his raw power while maintaining his other offensive qualities, he could be a monster.

There are mixed reviews about his defense. Some think he’ll be plenty good to handle third base, while some see a move across the diamond to first base. If the latter happens, that would put a lot more pressure on his bat — especially his power. He has a plus-throwing arm that would be virtually wasted at first base, and there’s a bigger premium on his bat if he sticks at third. He has soft hands and enough quickness to play a solid third base. He won’t be Nolan Arenado or Adrian Beltre over there, but he should be about league-average at the hot corner. As he ages, he’s going to lose the little speed he has, but he’s not a base clogger.

Vargas is a personal favorite of mine, but I’m not blind to the deficiencies in his game. The player dev staff has done a good job so far, and it’s going to be interesting to see if Vargas can continue to improve with the bat. He could be a role-6 third baseman who could slot almost anywhere in the lineup. He might go back to High-A Great Lakes for a refresher before a promotion to Double-A Tulsa by midseason.

Video

ToolPresentFuture
Hit4560
Power4055
Speed4540
Defense4050
Arm5560
FV/Risk60High

2020 Ranking: 5
2021 Location: High-A Great Lakes/Double-A Tulsa
ETA: 2023

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Next Up: Prospect No. 2

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.