Dodgers Prospect Notes: Vargas streaking, Sheehan tuning up, Cartaya, Rushing, De Paula homer, Rookie playoffs, more

Miguel Vargas (Credit: Ron Lane / MiLB)

Top Farm Batter

Miguel Vargas has been on a hot streak in Triple-A. He’s batting .357 this series and owns a .432 average going back to August 15. Although his hitting streak was lost last night, Vargas still reached base twice with walks. He has an .873 OPS having been with Oklahoma City for a month and a half now.

It is a bit clouded to envision a path back to the majors for Vargas this season. The Dodgers have plenty of right-handed bats on the roster, with Kiké Hernández and Amed Rosario both impressing since their respective trades. Vargas brings limited bench value since he’s had a bad year defensively, if it was even possible to fit him on the roster. Barring someone getting hurt in September, it is looking like Vargas may finish 2023 in the minors and head into Spring Training next year looking to win a job.

Top Farm Pitcher

Kyle Hurt has shown off his big strikeout stuff over his last two outings. In total, he’s set down 13 batters on strikes in 7 1/3 innings. Solo homers have accounted for two of the three runs he allowed, still turning in a respectable 3.68 ERA.

Hurt is one of the players to watch in September for a late promotion. He is eligible for the Rule 5 draft this winter, and with how impressive his peripherals have been in the minors this season, the Dodgers could give him a quick taste of the big leagues before next year. Hurt will turn 26 next May, so his age combined with his swinging strike rate that tops the minor leagues show he is ready to give the majors a go.

Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers

Emmet Sheehan was dominant in a quicker appearance last Sunday. He only threw 60 pitches but got through four innings while only allowing one hit and one walk. Sheehan struck out five and lowered his opponent batting average to .120 through two Triple-A games. His fastball maxed out at 98.2 mph.

Riding an impressive first year in Double-A, Jorbit Vivas was promoted to Triple-A to fill Michael Busch‘s spot in the Oklahoma City lineup. Vivas has started two of his first four games at third base, a spot that he only played 10 times with Tulsa this season. With this being his second year on the 40-man roster, some extra versatility away from second base would help him reach the majors at some point in 2024.

Double-A Tulsa Drillers

Diego Cartaya homered in two consecutive games to start this week’s series for Tulsa. In August, Cartaya has shown some turnaround by posting an .845 OPS with six home runs. He’s only batted .229 in the month, but he is walking at a rate that is more similar to his past years than what he’s shown with Tulsa. It is good to see Cartaya have a strong month after being dropped so far or even all the way off many midseason top 100 prospect boards.

Although Ben Casparius has had an overall rough time since being promoted to Double-A, he has found much more success in his last two trips to the mound. He’s tossed a combined 8 2/3 innings with a 1.04 ERA and 32.4% strikeout rate. The former UConn righty has a wipeout slider that can be a whiff machine when he is commanding his fastball to set it up.

High-A Great Lakes Loons

Dalton Rushing broke his brutal 0-for-38 streak in a big way, launching a no-doubt home run off of top Padres prospect Dylan Lesko. A nine day trip to the injured list happened in the middle of his streak, and his numbers have been down since sustaining a concussion in June*, so it seems clear that his health has been impacting his play. Even with this tough stretch, Rushing has an .815 OPS on the season and has firmly established how bright his future should be.

*Chad’s Note: .265/.436/.503/.939 line prior to concussion, .150/.346/.280/.626 after. Hard to think that’s a coincidence.

Justin Wrobleski struck out seven across 3 1/3 frames yesterday. The only run he allowed was unearned, allowing Wrobleski to get his ERA down below three at 2.93. He has been very good in 2023, now two years out from when he fell to the 11th round because he was rehabbing Tommy John surgery. Wrobleski is fully healthy and looking like a steal for Los Angeles.

Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

Josue De Paula hit his first home run in over two months with a grand slam last night. He had four hits in a big night on Tuesday, making this one of his best overall weeks of the season. At just 18 years old, De Paula has a .390 OBP and .768 OPS this year. Once he adjusts to elevating the ball more often and allows his powerful frame to show through in games, the future is very bright for the young outfielder.

Sam Mongelli has had a huge week for the Quakes. This year’s 10th round pick, Mongelli has a five game hitting streak which includes his first professional home run, six RBI and five walks. The 22-year-old has stepped into a utility role since arriving in Single-A, playing two or more games at each of shortstop, second base and all three outfield spots.

Rookie Ball

The ACL Dodgers had their season ended on Thursday night when they lost to the ACL D-backs Red and were eliminated from the playoffs. Alexander Albertus had a great game despite the finish, going 2-for-2 with two RBI singles, two hit-by-pitches and a walk. Albertus was supremely impressive this season, starting in the Dominican Summer League and ending in Arizona. Between the two, the 18-year-old infielder walked twice as often as he struck out while posting a .939 OPS.

Despite an unproductive regular season, Jose Gonzalez took what might be the biggest swing of the DSL season yesterday. After entering the game earlier as a pinch runner, Gonzalez stepped up to the plate in the 11th inning with his squad trailing by a run. He launched a two-run homer, just his second as a pro, to give DSL Bautista the win and send them to the second round of the playoffs.

About Bruce Kuntz

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I'm a Long Beach State journalism student and I've been writing about the Dodgers and their farm system since I was in high school.