On Monday, the Los Angeles Dodgers made their next round of roster cuts when they optioned top prospects Diego Cartaya, Michael Busch and Andy Pages to minor league camp. Cartaya and Pages were among the expected decisions.
But Busch? After he finally started to heat up during Spring Training? He improved his output to a .261/.393/.435 slash line with two runs scored, a homer, three RBI and five walks in 23 at-bats (he also had a .357 BABIP!). Last year across 111 Triple-A games, the lefty slugger hit .266 with an .823 OPS, 87 runs scored, 21 homers and 79 RBI.
On top of that, the Dodgers suffered a devastating injury to their infield when Gavin Lux was lost for the season with a torn ACL. That changed the entire picture. Miguel Rojas, who was expected to be a utility infielder, shifted to the starting SS role. Chris Taylor, who was supposed to log most of his reps in the outfield, became the backup SS. They have two guys technically playing out of position in Miguel Vargas (second base) and Max Muncy (third base) on a full-time basis.
Do the Dodgers have enough versatility in the infield? It's really questionable! With a healthy cast of outfielders, they need the extra infield insurance, especially someone who is athletic and can handle second base now that Muncy probably won't be over there much at all in 2023.
So we must ask: what's the point of Michael Busch if he isn't going to be utilized/make the Opening Day roster after all that's happened?
What's the Dodgers' plan with top prospect Michael Busch?
Dodgers fans are already frustrated with the James Outman Opening Day roster discourse. Don't give them another topic to yell about before March 30!
The only argument that exists is Busch needs to improve upon his defense at both second base and left field. He committed 14 errors in 94 Triple-A games on defense last season, which is a concern. But he didn't commit an error this spring.
This has led fans to believe one of two things: the Dodgers don't believe in Busch, given their fairly bleak infield picture at the moment, or they're planning to utilize him in a larger trade package to upgrade in some other way.
If 2023 was the year of "letting the kids play", then Busch getting moved to minor-league camp to ostensibly give Yonny Hernandez more reps with the big league club is counterintuitive.
It'll be a very, very sad scene if both Outman and Busch are teammates at the wrong level to begin the season.