Now that the 2022 minor league season is over, we can look back at some standouts throughout the Dodgers system throughout the year. Yesterday took a gander at pitchers, so it’s time for the hitters today.
If we’re looking at raw numbers, Michael Busch stood out, leading Dodgers minor leaguers in runs scored (118), RBI (108), hits (151), doubles (38), and was tied for the lead with teammate Jason Martin with 32 home runs. But context is also needed.
Busch hit .274/.365/.516 on the season, which began with 31 games in Double-A Tulsa before playing 111 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City. An above-average season, as his 118 wRC+ shows, but it’s important to remember that the Pacific Coast League averaged 5.79 runs per team game this year, one of the best offense-friendly environments around.
Triple-A also played a longer season than other levels, with 150 games, compared to 138 for Double-A and 132 games for both Class-A levels. So the top five Dodgers minor leaguers in runs scored for the season all played most or all of their years with Oklahoma City.
The top three home run hitters also played in Oklahoma City. Just behind Busch and Martin — who hit 32 home runs each — was James Outman, who hit 31 home runs between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. But if you throw in his incredible four-game cup of coffee with the Dodgers, his 32 home runs tie for the top spot, and he vaults Busch with 109 RBI. Martin drove in 107.
Outman in the minors hit .294/.392/.586, his 141 wRC+ second-best among all Dodgers minor leaguers with a minimum of 300 plate appearances. High-A Great Lakes first baseman Imanol Vargas hit .268/.404/.467 with a 146 wRC+ and 18 home runs.
Catcher Diego Cartaya, widely considered the Dodgers’ top prospect, had a 139 wRC+ between Low-A Rancho Cucamonga and High-A, hitting .254/.389/.503 with 22 home runs in 95 games. He was named the Branch Rickey Award winner as the Dodgers’ minor league player of the year.
Miguel Vargas, who made his major league debut in August and has been active with the Dodgers all September, hit .304/.404/.511 with a 129 wRC+ in Triple-A at age 22, cementing his status as a highly-regarded hitting prospect.
The two position players on the 40-man roster who spent all season in Great Lakes had productive seasons, each at age 21. Jorbit Vivas hit .269/.374/.401 with a 120 wRC+ and more walks (63) than strikeouts (58), while playing second base and third base. Eddys Leonard played mostly shortstop but also mixed in some time at second, third, and in centerfield, and hit .264/.348/.436 with a 119 wRC+.
Other hitting standouts included outfielder Damon Keith (137 wRC+) and infielder Austin Gauthier (135 wRC+) between both Rancho Cucamonga and Great Lakes, and outfielder Jonny DeLuca with his 134 wRC+ between Great Lakes and Tulsa. Gauthier walked 103 times, most in the Dodgers minors.
Dalton Rushing didn’t qualify with plate appearances since he was just drafted in July, but the Dodgers’ top pick was incredible from the jump. The catcher hit .424/.539/.778 with 19 extra-base hits in 28 games and a 225 wRC+ for the Quakes. Rushing was promoted to Great Lakes for the playoffs, and he drove in three runs in three games for the Loons, going 2-for-9 with two walks and was hit by two pitches.
Though some friendly environments and longer seasons might inflate some numbers, players leading their league are still noteworthy.
Vargas, even though he played only 113 games with Oklahoma City, tied for the Pacific Coast League lead with 100 runs scored. Martin led the PCL in runs batted in and total bases (265), and tied for the lead in home runs. Ryan Noda led the PCL with 92 walks.
Leonard led the Midwest League in total bases (216), hits (131), and runs scored (80). Outfielder Jose Ramos, who started the year with Rancho Cucamonga, led the Midwest League with 74 RBI in only 95 games for Great Lakes. On the season between two levels, Ramos hit 25 home runs with a 120 wRC+.
Gauthier led the California League with a .461 on-base percentage. He hit .268/.441/.406 between Rancho Cucamonga and Great Lakes.
Minor league players of the week
- Zach McKinstry: April 5-10, Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
- Jorbit Vivas: May 16-22, Midwest League (High-A)
- Kenneth Betancourt: June 13-19, California League (Low-A)
- Jonny DeLuca: June 20-26, Midwest League (High-A)
- Jonny DeLuca: June 27-July 3, Midwest League (High-A)
- Ryan Ward: August 1-7, Texas League (Double-A)
- Rayne Doncon: August 8-14, Arizona Complex League (rookie)
- Damon Keith: August 15-21, California League (Low-A)
- James Outman: August 22-28, Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
- Ismael Alcantara: August 22-28, Midwest League (High-A)
- Dalton Rushing: August 22-28, California League (Low-A)