Dodgers infielder Michael Busch was named 2023 Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player, the culmination of an outstanding season for Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Busch hit .323/.431/.618 with a 150 wRC+, 27 home runs, 26 doubles, 90 RBI, and 85 runs scored in 98 games for Oklahoma City this year. He led the PCL in slugging percentage and OPS (1.049), ranked third in the league in on-base percentage and fourth in home runs despite playing fewer than 100 games.
The 25-year-old Busch is the first Dodgers minor leaguer to win Pacific Coast League MVP since Joc Pederson did so for the Albuquerque Isotopes in 2014, the last year before the Dodgers reached an affiliate agreement with Oklahoma City. Busch is the last Oklahoma City player to win PCL MVP since Nelson Cruz in 2008.
Also this season, Busch made his major league debut on April 25 in Pittsburgh, and was called up for three different stints with the Dodgers in 2023. He hit .167/.247/.292 with two home runs and three doubles in 81 plate appearances in 27 games, including 18 starts.
Finding a position for Busch was an issue, with Max Muncy at third base and J.D. Martinez entrenched at designate hitter. Most of Busch’s opportunity in the majors in 2023 came when one of those two were sidelined. Busch started 10 games at third base with the Dodgers, started seven times at DH, and once more at second base.
In Triple-A, Busch started 61 games at third base, 25 times at second base, seven games at first, three times at DH, and even two starts in left field. He was named to the postseason PCL All-Star team, as was pitcher Gavin Stone, his Oklahoma City teammate.
Busch was especially productive in the second half of the season for Oklahoma City, hitting .330/.428/.683 with 21 home runs and 53 RBI in 54 games in Triple-A. He carried that over into the postseason, with five hits in 13 at-bats (.385) with two home runs, a double, and five RBI in three games, helping Oklahoma City to the PCL championship and spearheading a comeback attempt in Saturday’s Triple-A championship game against Norfolk with a home run in the ninth inning.
Busch also won the Branch Rickey Award this season as the Dodgers minor league player of the year.