Last week, we wondered how long the Dodgers could feasibly keep top prospect Miguel Vargas in Triple-A if he continued to rake while big-league third baseman Justin Turner scuffled and crashed into the aging curve.
Now? It seems clear the Dodgers are approaching a decision point on Vargas, and would like to get a few different “last looks” in before making the all-important call.
If Vargas receives a big-league promotion in the weeks to come, it might not be to fill Turner’s role part-time. In fact, the team might want to get his bat in the lineup more regularly by rotating him around the diamond — or even using him to help solve a problem they created prior to Opening Day.
The Dodgers’ outfield depth hasn’t looked quite right all year after they traded AJ Pollock for Craig Kimbrel a few days prior to Opening Day. It’s possible to both understand why they made the move and bemoan the scrambling that trading Pollock has caused, resulting in off-the-wall additions like Trayce Thompson and the overuse of Eddy Alvarez/Zach McKinstry.
Once the first line of defense was breached by Mookie Betts’ injury, Los Angeles ran into an even bigger problem. Suddenly, Cody Bellinger/Gavin Lux became all the more important, creating a depth chart scramble behind them like the Albert Pujols/Yoshi Tsutsugo blitz of 2021. Therefore, it might be easier to just use the slugging Vargas, who played his first ever game in left field on Wednesday night.
Dodgers’ Miguel Vargas getting Triple-A reps in left field
Vargas has taken to Triple-A OKC quite well so far in 2022, triple-slashing .282/.381/.485 with an .866 OPS, both spectacular and somehow lower than his 2021 total of .906. We’re “concerned” about that step back for sure.
In his left-field debut, he went 1-for-3 with a single, but perhaps (definitely!) more importantly, he tracked a long fly ball into the gap perfectly and gloved it, showing off significant potential out there.
Vargas is just 22, and still has plenty of time to establish himself as a big-leaguer whether he gets a shot in left prior to the All-Star break or not.
But replacing McKinstry or Alvarez with the Cuban slugger would be the first appealing solution to the loss of Pollock we’ve heard yet, and it proves the Dodgers are getting creative with their top talents.
Yes, even if it’s to scramble and patch a hole they somewhat unnecessarily created.