We missed this post last year because of the pandemic, but it’s back. The Minor League season is over, and it’s time to do some postseason awards.
Now, let’s get to it.
Hitter of the Year
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you had to know this one was coming. Vargas, 21, is coming off a fantastic season in which he answered a lot of questions — mostly about his power. He saw his power increase significantly without sacrificing the plate discipline that he has displayed early in his pro career. He started to elevate to the pull side while keeping his right-center approach. He’s turning into a complete hitter at the minor-league level and could see Los Angeles as early as late next year, but more likely, in 2023.
The runners-up would be Ryan Noda and Andy Pages. Noda, 25, was acquired as “the other guy” in the Ross Stripling trade. He hit .250/.383/.521 with a Double-A Central-leading 29 home runs. The corner outfielder could carve out a nice role in the majors — akin to what the Dodgers were hoping from with the likes of Luke Raley and Zach Reks. Pages, 20, is making Arte Moreno look foolish for vetoing that trade in February 2020 that would have netted the Angels Pages, Stripling and Joc Pederson for Luis Rengifo and (reportedly) Taylor Ward. Like Noda, Pages led his league in home runs (31) while hitting .265/.394/.539. He has all the look of a profile right fielder at the next level.
Pitcher of the Year
The 2020 1st-rounder exceeded the hype in his first professional season. Miller, 22, pitched most of the season with the High-A Great Lakes Loons before a late-season promotion to the Double-A Tulsa Drillers. His workload was limited in his first full season — and one after the pandemic-canceled ’20 minor-league season — but after having a taste of Double-A and getting a full offseason of work, he could be in line to make his MLB debut this season. There was talk earlier this season the Dodgers might really fast track him, but a 6-week stint on the injured list put a stop to that. But he’s showing why the Dodgers took him in the 1st round and how he could end up being a bonafide No. 2 starter, with his sights set on ace status.
The runners-up would be Gavin Stone (h/t to Josh for reminding me about him) and Andre Jackson. Stone, 23 in a few weeks, the Dodgers’ 5th-rounder in ’20, had an awfully impressive debut season himself (3.76 ERA, 91 IP, 36.7 K%), but the fact he did most of his damage in Low-A hurt him in consideration here. Still, it looks like the Dodgers might have found another one. Jackson, 25, was one of the most durable prospect starter the Dodgers had this season, and he even made his MLB debut (1.04 ERA in 8 2/3 innings).
Next up: The All-Prospect Team