Top Dodgers prospects Miguel Vargas, Ryan Pepiot, and Andre Jackson will start the season in Triple-A, all included in the preliminary opening day roster for Oklahoma City, which begins play on Tuesday night against Albuquerque.
Pepiot was already announced on Sunday as the opening day starter with OKC, where he finished the 2021 season over the final two months. Pepiot was named on two national top-100 prospect lists (ESPN and Baseball America), ranked second-highest among pitching prospects in the Dodgers system.
Vargas was named on four top-100 lists (Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America, The Athletic, and MLB Pipeline) and was the Branch Rickey Award winner in 2021 as the Dodgers minor league position player of the year. At 22 years old, Vargas is the youngest player on Oklahoma City’s roster. Vargas split time with High-A Great Lakes, where he set a franchise-record hitting streak, and Double-A Tulsa last season, hitting a combined .319/.380/.526 with 23 home runs, 27 doubles, and led all Dodgers minor leaguers in hits (154) and runs scored (98) in 2021.
It’s unknown if Vargas will be with Oklahoma City as early as Tuesday night, since he was in Los Angeles for the Freeway Series earlier Monday.
Jackson will start for Oklahoma City on Thursday.
Also on the roster are veterans Jake Lamb and Kevin Pillar, who made strong bids to make the major league team as non-roster invitees in spring training. Lamb was sent to the minors on Sunday, and Pillar the same on Monday, with the Dodgers going with 12 position players to begin the regular season.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts on Monday said he expects both Lamb and Pillar to play in the majors this season.
“Kevin is a Los Angeles guy, grew up rooting for the Dodgers. I just wish I would have played with the guy. He’s a guy I just love watching, admiring. To see him in a Dodgers uniform, it looks right,” Roberts said. “He’s a major league player. Fortunately for the Dodgers, he was open to taking the assignment to Triple-A.
“Sometimes that conversation when you know a player is deserving, but [Jake] was a pro and I expect him along with Kevin at some point to help us out.”
Pillar can opt out of his contract if he isn’t called up to the majors by June 1. Lamb has opt-outs in May and July, per Juan Toribio of MLB.com.
Other veterans on Oklahoma City’s roster include Eddy Alvarez, Andy Burns, Stefen Romero, plus catchers Tomás Telis and Tony Wolters, all of whom were non-roster invitees this year in spring training.
Shane Greene, Darien Núñez, and Yefry Ramírez all pitched for the Dodgers at some point in 2021. Yency Almonte, Beau Burrows, Reyes Moronta, Mike Wright, and Daniel Zamora all pitched in the majors last year, as did Dodgers minor league Rule 5 Draft picks Carson Fulmer and Jon Duplantier.
Only three Oklahoma City Dodgers are on the 40-man roster — Jackson, Núñez, and Zach McKinstry. One will likely join them when the Dodgers finalize their 40-man roster.
Here is the full roster: