Could Miguel Vargas earn a postseason roster spot?

With six games left in the season, a lot of postseason roster decisions have likely been made. However, there might be a battle for that final roster spot, especially depending on what happens over the final week of the season.

Don’t look now, but Miguel Vargas is making a case for a spot in October. The 22-year-old rookie got off to a slow start, but has really looked solid at the plate over the last week.

Could Vargas end up on the postseason roster? It’s possible.

Vargas has been one of the top prospects in LA’s farm system over the last few years. He spent all season in Oklahoma City, where he was one of the top hitters on the team. In 113 games, Vargas hit .304 with an OPS of .915. He had 17 home runs, 32 doubles, 82 RBI and 16 stolen bases. Not too bad, I’d say.

The rookie debuted on August 3, going 2-for-4 with two RBI. It was a struggle after that, as he went 1-for-20 over his next seven games. However, he’s really started to heat up as of late, as Vargas is batting .294 over his last five games.

During this recent stretch, he’s hit his first home run while also having his best game as a big-leaguer. On Thursday night, Vargas drove in a career-high three runs, with two of them coming on a go-ahead single later in the game.

“It was great,” manager Dave Roberts said of his performance. “He accounted for most of our offense. For him to show up like that was really exciting. Young players like that bring energy to the clubhouse.”

Vargas wasn’t initially in the lineup, but was added after Trayce Thompson was scratched. It’s Vargas’ second straight game driving in at least two runs.

“He clearly has the hit tool we talk about,” Roberts said on SNLA. “He has a two-strike approach. He can cover a lot of different pitches. It’s no surprise. You don’t know until you know. When you get a young player up here, in this environment, to see how he responds, it’s very telling.”

Although the results haven’t quite been there for Vargas until recently, he’s shown an incredible plate discipline over his first chunk of games in the big leagues. The potential is clearly there. Now, he’s finally starting to settle in.

Vargas now has a hit in four of his last five games and has driven in a run in three of them. With him starting to heat up at the plate, could he possibly be a name we can see in October?

“His name is certainly in the mix to make the roster,” Roberts said.

If I were to guess, he’ll be battling with Hanser Alberto for the final roster spot. I think the rest of the position players have been locked up. If this is for the 13th and final spot, I think going with Vargas is the right call.

Alberto is a great guy to have in the clubhouse and I love his energy. But we need to be honest with ourselves…. he just hasn’t been great at the plate in 2022. In 69 games, Alberto is hitting .225 with an OPS of .580. His OPS+ is 57, by far the worst of his career since becoming a full-time big leaguer.

The hope with Alberto was that he’d hit left-handed pitching. While he’s certainly faired better against LHP than RHP (.260 AVG vs. .157 AVG) I don’t think the upside of him hitting singles against lefties is really that valuable in October. Yes, Vargas has a much smaller sample size — but his upside at the plate is much more significant.

Barring an injury, I don’t see Alberto starting a postseason game for the Dodgers. I also don’t see him really being needed in a pinch-hit scenario either. Vargas also might not be needed to pinch hit. But if I had to choose between the two, I’ll take the highly touted prospect who has been heating up at the plate. Vargas also offers the ability to play in the infield and outfield, which might be more valuable for LA as well.

“When you’re not out there every day, to take quality at bats, it’s hard to do,” Roberts said. “In his short sample, he squared the ball up quite often. He takes good at bats every time he’s in there.”

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x