Unless you’re a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, there’s a good chance you’re not familiar with the name Miguel Vargas.
Vargas appeared in just 18 games for the Dodgers in 2022 and hit under .200 in that span.
But don’t let that fool you. MLB.com ranks the 23-year-old Cuban, who signed as international free agent in 2017, as the organization’s third-best prospect.
He can play either corner infield or outfield position and has shown impressive pop, notching 17 home runs and 32 doubles with AAA Oklahoma City a year ago.
But in order to to hit home runs, you must first hit the ball. And that all starts with plate discipline, something Vargas showed very little of in the majors in 2022. He struck out 13 times in 47 plate appearance for LA in 2022 and had just a .200 on-base percentage,
Fast forward to spring training, however, and Vargas is getting on base at a .500 rate. He’s doing so, however, despite not once swinging a bat.
You see, Vargas is not only working on his plate approach. He’s also recovering from a hairline fracture in his pinky. What better time to try and round out your game?
Miguel Vargas hasn't swung at a pitch all spring and everyone knows he isn't going to swing and he has 4 walks in 8 trips to the plate. pic.twitter.com/QpigxPctmr
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) March 3, 2023
“He’s walking more than he’s striking out,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said this past Wednesday. “Teams haven’t got the memo yet.”
At least one person, however, has caught on. Former Dodger and current Kansas City Royals pitcher Zac Greinke figured out what Vargas is doing in a recent spring training game, which led to this hilarious sequence of events.
Zack Greinke vs Miguel Vargas AB (pitches ranging from 59mph to 92mph). Greinke f'ing with Vargas who hasn't been cleared to swing. 😂 pic.twitter.com/PwPPPMC5lz
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 5, 2023
Los Angeles expects Vargas to be able to take swings in the coming weeks. But if he keeps getting on base at a .500 rate, maybe it’s best to just keep looking at pitches a little while longer.
It may seem like a wild strategy. But there’s evidence to show it may just work if you’re good enough.
Though, as the saying go, chicks dig the long ball. I’m not walks are quite as attractive.