When MLB active rosters expanded to 28 players at the beginning of September, the Los Angeles Dodgers elected to use the additional position player spot on Miguel Vargas rather than recalling James Outman or Edwin Ríos.
Ríos got off to an impressive start as contributor off the Dodgers bench before suffering a significant right hamstring strain that manager Dave Roberts described as a “Grade 3 or Grade 4 tear,” and Outman had a record-setting MLB debut after joining the Dodgers at the end of July.
Vargas made his MLB debut during the first week of August but only appeared in two games before getting optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Opportunities were scare after returning Sept 1., but have steadily increased and so too has Vargas’ production.
So much so that Roberts acknowledged Vargas is a candidate to be included on the Dodgers’ postseason roster for the National League Division Series, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“His name is certainly in the mix to make the roster. Absolutely.”
Roberts’ comment came after Vargas had a career-high three RBI in the Dodgers’ 5-2 win over the San Diego Padres. Roberts praised the heralded prospect for his contributions and keeping prepared:
“It’s big. Also, when you’re not out there every day, to still take quality at-bats is hard to do. For him to be ready when called upon, show up, take good at-bats, in his short sample, he’s squared the ball up quite often. It just seems like he takes good at-bats every time he’s in there.”
Vargas is batting just .195/.209/.293 with one double, one home run, eight RBI, one walk and nine strikeouts over 13 games (10 starts) with the Dodgers. However, he is 4-for-10 and has six RBI with runners in scoring position.
Vargas was not in the initial lineup on Thursday but replaced Trayce Thompson, who was scratched so he could tend to a personal matter.
Justin Turner impressed by Miguel Vargas
Vargas’ first time joining the Dodgers this season was due to Justin Turner being placed on the 10-day injured list. Many view Vargas as the heir apparent to Turner, who recently commended his understudy.
“Obviously he’s had an outstanding year and a lot of clout behind him,” Turner began.
“One thing you’ve got to recognize is when you go from playing every day in the Minor Leagues to coming up and being put in a new role or position, that’s one of the hardest things in all of sports to do, playing once a week or pinch-hitting.
“He’s been great. He’s been positive, he’s getting his work in. When you’re prepared and you have an opportunity, good things happen.”
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