Dodgers fans patiently waited for Miguel Vargas to get his chance with the big-league club and flash his talent at the plate. With Justin Turner leaving over the winter, the door swung wide open for Vargas to become an everyday player for the team.
It has not started quite the way the Dodgers would have hoped, though. After struggling in limited plate appearances last season, Vargas has continued falling short at the dish. While his excellent walk rate does keep his on-base percentage afloat, his .213 batting average and .659 OPS leave a lot to be desired.
Vargas might benefit from getting at-bats at the AAA level to get his feet back under him without impacting the big-league club's success. This would also benefit the Dodgers, as Michael Busch is one of the hottest hitters in the entire organization and could instantly replace Vargas at second base (and hey, he's already been promoted with Max Muncy hitting the paternity list!).
Michael Busch is a better option for the Dodgers at second base than Miguel Vargas right now
While Vargas has struggled, Busch has been hitting the cover off the ball for Oklahoma City. Granted, AAA pitching isn't quite the same as MLB pitching, but it's impossible to ignore the numbers that Busch is putting up.
In his first 21 games this season Busch is slashing .337/.461/.506 with two home runs, 16 RBIs and eight doubles. His 17.8% walk rate would rank third on the big-league club (0.1% behind Vargas) and his 18.8% strikeout rate would be the fourth-lowest (right behind Freddie Freeman).
This is coming after a great spring training for Busch in which he posted a .937 OPS with two home runs in 36 plate appearances. Despite that solid spring, the Dodgers still decided to option Busch to AAA.
While Vargas has been the bigger-name prospect over the last 18 months, the Dodgers should be rewarding the hot bat. Sending Vargas down to AAA is by no means a permanent move, but allowing him to get his feet back under him in OKC while giving Busch a real extended run at the MLB level would help all parties involved.
Plus, the clock is somewhat ticking on Busch, who turns 26 in September. At some point the team needs to give him a shot at the big-league level to see if he's cut out to be an MLB player. Vargas is still only 23, so there is much more time for him to figure it out.
The 2023 season was pitched as a transition year for the Dodgers in which they would be giving a chance to the young talent that was knocking at the door. With that mindset, it makes no sense to continue to bury Busch in the minors while Vargas is struggling at the plate.