His first time on an enormous league diamond, Miguel Vargas got here precisely as marketed.
There was persistence on the plate, with the Dodgers’ rookie shedding a few two-strike pitches out of the zone in his first profession at-bat Wednesday.
There was energy within the swing, the right-handed hitter scorching a 106-mph rocket the opposite approach for an RBI ground-rule double.
Then, the extremely touted 22-year-old prospect — considered one of a number of younger abilities the Dodgers protected throughout a quiet commerce deadline the day earlier than — flashed his swaggering self-confidence too.
On the subsequent pitch, and fully of his personal volition, he broke for third base and stole it simply with a head-first slide.
“I just felt incredible,” Vargas mentioned via an interpreter when requested what compelled his audacious try. “I didn’t feel like anyone could stop me.”
The San Francisco Giants certain didn’t Wednesday night time as Vargas went two for 4 with two RBIs in his main league debut, serving to the Dodgers to a 3-0 win in entrance of 35,400 at Oracle Park.
“I was really nervous when I was on the on-deck circle [before the first at-bat],” Vargas mentioned. “But once I stepped in the box, I didn’t feel anything.”
For months, Vargas had been knocking on the door of an enormous league call-up.
After evolving his swing and including pull aspect energy, he emerged as one of many Dodgers finest minor leaguers in 2021.
A consensus top-100 prospect coming into this season, he had a few dazzling performances this spring as an invitee to main league camp, leaving an impression on supervisor Dave Roberts and his employees.
He then eradicated any lingering doubt about his readiness by tearing up triple A with a .291 batting common, 15 residence runs, 72 RBIs and an .880 on-base-plus-slugging share, incomes him a spot in final month’s Futures Recreation at Dodger Stadium.
“He’s just growing into the total package,” director of participant growth Will Rhymes mentioned then.
Nonetheless, Vargas needed to wait, biding his time behind different veterans on the workforce’s group depth chart whereas his title was consistently talked about in commerce rumors main as much as Tuesday’s deadline.
Vargas mentioned he ignored the hypothesis and targeted on his recreation — making his protection some extent of emphasis at third base and within the outfield, the latter a place he’d by no means performed earlier than this season.
“It’s a new position and it was challenging at first,” Vargas mentioned. “But now I feel pretty comfortable there.”
He lastly received a name to hitch the foremost league workforce this week, although he was initially informed it will be as a taxi squad member.
Nevertheless, within the wake of a deadline-day roster shuffle, which included Justin Turner happening the injured listing, the workforce modified course and put Vargas on the energetic roster as an alternative.
He arrived in San Francisco halfway via Tuesday night time’s recreation, greeting his new teammates with hugs within the dugout.
Then, he shined within the Dodgers’ win Wednesday, opening the scoring along with his double within the second inning earlier than tacking on one other RBI with an infield single within the fourth.
Vargas’ confidence, Roberts mentioned, is “innate,” one thing the supervisor says he believes comes from Vargas’ father, Lazaro, who was a legendary participant in Cuba — the place he and Vargas defected from in 2015.
“He’s always looking at the field, understands the game,” Roberts mentioned. “It’s an uncanny ability to slow things down.”
Julio Urías pitched six-plus scoreless innings within the win, reducing his ERA to 2.57. Reliever Evan Phillips escaped a bases-loaded jam within the seventh, the second straight night time he extinguished the Giants’ greatest risk.
And Craig Kimbrel narrowly prevented catastrophe in ninth, loading the bases with one out earlier than holding on for his nineteenth save.
Afterward, nevertheless, Vargas was the focus, greeted with a beer bathe upon returning to the clubhouse earlier than fielding questions in entrance of his locker with an ear-to-ear grin.
“I always dreamed of this moment and I prepared myself for this moment,” Vargas mentioned. “I was ready for this moment.”
It’s unclear how lengthy Vargas may keep within the majors.
Turner and Chris Taylor (who had two residence runs throughout his triple A rehabilitation project Wednesday) could possibly be again by subsequent week. And whereas Roberts mentioned Vargas may play left discipline and varied spots on the infield, the roster crunch may stop the rookie from getting common at-bats.
Nonetheless, Roberts didn’t eradicate the potential for Vargas contributing down the stretch.
“He certainly has a ton of talent, so to put him in this environment is certainly a good opportunity,” Roberts mentioned. “Yeah, it could be short. It could be longer. I guess only time will tell.”