Dodgers Rookie Miguel Vargas Feeling Healthy & More Confident With Swing

The Los Angeles Dodgers have found a bit of life recently through consistent pitching and a productive offense that includes rookie Miguel Vargas being among those swinging a hot bat.

A walk-off win against the Philadelphia Phillies capped a three-game series sweep, but in the middle game, Vargas produced career performance. His four-hit showing with three doubles and three RBI was key in the 13-1 victory and looked as if a weight was lifted off his shoulders.

“I feel great. I’m just trying to compete every day,” Vargas said this week. “Baseball, it is what it is. I feel great right now, comfortable.”

The Dodgers had been without a solid lower-third of the batting order, stuck between relying on fellow rookie James Outman to carry the bulk alongside Vargas early in the year. But the 23-year-old had been dealing with lingering effects of being hit in the hand by two pitches, one during Spring Training and the other just a few days into the regular season.

Vargas’ ailing hand and unfortunate luck led to some odd returns, including a batting average that hovered at, or slightly below .200 for the first two weeks. The Dodgers continued to start him at second base to keep his rhythm, and with an ailing thumb, questions as to if Vargas was bothered by the injury were sparking up.

“Sometimes. Not really,” Vargas said. “It’s hard when you get hit by two pitches in the hand. I just tried to get back and compete every day. That’s what made the difference and what matters for me.”

Vargas noted all players endure struggles at some point, and along with his right fingers and hand getting healthier, changes and work with Dodgers hitting coaches during their last road trip are paying off.

“Just the little bit of adjustments we made,” he added. “Obviously, we have to work. We don’t just get good. I try to compete every day, is my plan every time.”

Since April 25, Vargas has posted a 169 wRC+ with five doubles, two home runs, and a club-leading 11 RBI.

Dave Roberts & Mookie Betts talk Miguel Vargas outburst

Coming up through the Minor League ranks, Vargas was regularly mentioned as having the best hit-tool of any Dodgers prospect. Now that his progress is being rewarded with results, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts believes the club is getting exactly what was advertised.

“It is. I think initially Miguel was controlling the strike zone well, taking walks, and then he got hit on the thumb and there was some tentativeness with the swing, understandably,” Roberts said.

“Then the indecisiveness of the swing led to bad habits, but our guys worked through some things with Miguel. Right now he’s in as good of spot as we’ve seen. Just kind of taking advantage of balls in the strike zone is really good to see. To have him where he’s at in the order and be productive, it really adds length.”

Mookie Betts has developed a strong relationship with Vargas, and also heaped praise on his understudy.

“It’s great,” Betts added. “He’s like my little brother, so to see him have some success is great. It’s good for him personally, but also for the Dodgers as well. It makes our lineup a lot longer. What he can do is pretty special. I’m glad he’s showing it.”

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