Miguel Vargas is the talk of Dodgertown, and for good reason. He’s an incredible batter — no doubt about that — but defensively, he has room to grow. The Dodgers don’t seem to be worried. They’re so unbothered, in fact, that they’re fine with moving Vargas from third base to second, where he’ll have more ground to cover thanks to the ban on the shift.
“I think as far as range, ability, and foot speed, Miguel can handle [second base],” manager Dave Roberts told Mike DiGiovanna at the Los Angeles Times.
Roberts is confident that Vargas understands the game enough to make the transition relatively smoothly. While the new second baseman needs to continue working low to the ground, Roberts said, his “baseball IQ” allows him to get a good jump on balls and make plays.
Travis Barbary, Vargas’s Triple-A manager, agrees. “I actually think he will be more comfortable at second than he was at third,” Barbary said. “He always said second base was his favorite position. He did a lot of pregame work on the right side and was positioned there a lot as the third baseman in the shift last year.”
Vargas’s defensive concerns come from what some scouts perceive as limited range and mobility thanks to slower movement. He has a .916 average fielding percentage in his minor league career.
But if none of that is bothering the Dodgers, it’s certainly not bothering Vargas, either. “I’m ready for it,” he said at FanFest this year.
How does Mookie Betts manage to make so many highlight-worthy robberies of home runs? “Pure instinct,” he told MLB.com’s Manny Radhawa.
Jim Bowden at The Athletic lists the 10 players he’s most excited to watch in Spring Training this year, including — you guessed it — Miguel Vargas.
As part of its implementation of the pitch clock, MLB is also cracking down on balks, writes Jeff Passan at ESPN, causing multiple pitchers to adjust their deliveries.