Michael Busch makes successful debut for Dodgers

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Busch contributed well as the Dodgers won their third consecutive game.

Michael Busch finally received a major-league call up and took advantage of his first opportunity. He batted seventh and started at DH for the Dodgers as they opened their series in Pittsburgh.

Busch went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI in his debut. His first hit as a major leaguer was an RBI single in the sixth inning that set the stage for a Dodgers comeback. He drove in his friend and 2022 teammate James Outman with a line drive into center field.

In the eighth inning, Busch followed up his big hit with a seven pitch walk. He looked composed at the plate, and his getting on base turned out to be huge. Chris Taylor batted next and hit a three-run homer that scored Busch and gave the Dodgers the lead, which they eventually held to secure the win.

The former first round pick has high aspirations to live up to on the big stage. According to MLB Pipeline, Busch is the Dodgers’ third overall prospect. He also resides within Pipeline’s top 50 prospects in all of baseball by holding the 48th spot on the list.

After playing at North Carolina, the Dodgers took Busch with the 31st pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. While his defensive position has remained questionable for most of his professional career, his bat has powered Busch to where he is today. The 25-year-old has a career .875 OPS in the minor leagues, including a .967 clip through 21 Triple-A games this season.

“It was amazing. The last 48 hours were pretty special. Actually, not even 48, I don’t think. Probably like 30 hours. It was awesome, it was amazing,” Busch said in his interview after the game on SportsNet LA.

Busch was the DH today as J.D. Martinez nurses a tweaked back that he sustained in Chicago. If Martinez is ready to go tomorrow or Thursday, that will mean Busch will likely play third base for the Dodgers. Even though he had not played the position prior to this year, he played 80 innings at the hot corner in Triple-A in preparation for his first MLB call-up. Since the Dodgers have Freddie Freeman at first base and Miguel Vargas at second base, Busch’s natural positions are both blocked.

Once Max Muncy is activated from the paternity list, Busch is likely to go back down to Triple-A. The Dodgers will prioritize getting him every day at-bats, and with Muncy back at third, there will not be many innings available with the big league club. However, even in this short time, Busch has a chance to make an impression and get a head start on when his next call-up could come.

Even if he is demoted later this week, Busch will certainly be back in the major leagues this season. If any injuries happen, or if some of the veterans in the Dodgers offense continue to struggle, they will look to Busch as the first reinforcement. Busch’s bat is big league ready, and he is likely to be a major contributor down the stretch this season.