A pair of Great Lakes hitters highlighted Wednesday in the Dodgers minors. Well, one Loons hitter and a former Loons hitter, that is.
Player of the day
Third baseman Miguel Vargas was promoted to Double-A Tulsa on Wednesday after a productive six weeks in High-A Great Lakes. The 21-year-old from Cuba hit .314/.366/.532 with the Loons, including a franchise-record 26-game hit streak along the way. Vargas led High-A Central (formerly named the Midwest League) in hits (49), ranked fourth in batting average (.314) and runs scored (31), and ranked sixth in slugging percentage (.532) and OPS (.898).
Vargas was one of five Dodgers prospects to be named to any national top-100 list before the season, rating as the 77th-best prospect in the game according to Baseball Prospectus.
“Advanced strike-zone awareness limits his strikeouts, prevents him from chasing bad pitches, and helped him establish a .387 career OBP,” Brandon Williams at Baseball Prospectus wrote in December. “While his power has yet to fully develop, his sturdy base and strong physique are sure to produce more home runs as he matures.”
In 37 games with the Loons, Vargas hit seven home runs, matching his career best, set in 2019 in 124 games between then-Low-A Great Lakes and then-High-A Rancho Cucamonga. Vargas also has 11 doubles this season.
The promotion of Vargas comes one day after Tulsa third baseman Kody Hoese was removed from a game after the first inning. Hoese, a first-round pick of the Dodgers in 2019, was placed on the seven-day injured list by the Drillers. Vargas played 31 of his 37 games with Great Lakes at third base, but also started twice at second base and once at first, in addition to three games as the designated hitter.
The Arkansas Travelers (Mariners) rallied for four runs in the eighth to beat the Drillers. Left fielder Carlos Rincon homered and walked three times in defeat.
Ryan Pepiot, who pitched five hitless innings in his last start on Saturday, spoke with David Laurila at FanGraphs about his changeup, complete with a picture of his grip, which Pepiot described:
“It is. It’s like a standard four-seam grip, but my hand kind of hooks around a little bit. Playing football growing up, and basketball, I got some jammed fingers, so my fingers… like, it works to where I can just kind of hook them around the horseshoe. And a lot of guys get their pinky fingers off the ball when they throw their changeup, but I actually try to hook my pinky around the horseshoe, on the seam, and try to keep it on there as long as possible. That’s kind of a cue for me. When you slow down the video, my pinky finger ends up coming off at the end, but trying to keep it on as long as possible helps make sure I’m releasing it out in front. That helps me get the fade and depth to it.”
High-A Great Lakes
Center fielder Andy Pages hit his team-leading 10th home run in the Loons road win over the Lansing Lugnuts (A’s). Pages also singled, walked, and scored three times in the win. On the season, the 20-year-old is hitting .255/.353/.530 and has more homers than any other Dodgers minor leaguer.
Great Lakes used Logan Boyer as an opener for a scoreless first inning, but then brought in right-hander Jose Martinez, who was a non-roster invitee with the Dodgers in spring. Martinez pitched six scoreless innings, his longest outing of the season, while allowing only a single and a run, with three strikeouts.
Low-A Rancho Cucamonga
After a blowout win by the Quakes on Tuesday, the Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks) returned the favor on Wednesday. An eight-run sixth-inning put this game away, with pitchers Carlos De Los Santos and Nelfri Contreras surrendering four runs each.
Triple-A: Steven Souza Jr. was called up to the Dodgers.
Double-A: Miguel Vargas was promoted from Great Lakes. Kody Hoese was placed on the seven-day injured list.
High-A: Infielder Yhostin Chirinos and pitcher Hunter Speer joined the Loons from extended spring training. Infielder Luke Heyer and pitcher Morgan Cooper were released. Cooper was the Dodgers’ second-round draft pick in 2017 out of Texas, where he missed the 2015 season with Tommy John surgery. Injuries felled Cooper after he was drafted as well, such that his first professional game came this season with the Loons. In nine games, the 26-year-old right-hander allowed 10 runs in 14 innings, with 12 walks and 12 strikeouts.
- 4:05 p.m. PT: Great Lakes (Bobby Miller) at Lansing (Richard Guasch)
- 5:05 p.m.: Oklahoma City (Austin Bibens-Dirkx) at Round Rock [Rangers] (Wade LeBlanc)
- 5:10 p.m.: Tulsa (John Rooney) at Arkansas (TBA)
- 6:30 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Jimmy Lewis) vs. Visalia (Justin Martinez)