Vargas misses milestone, but homers twice

Dodgers No. 27 prospect falls a single short of cycle for Loons

Miguel Vargas sits tied for second in the Midwest League with a .318 batting average. (Alex Seder/Great Lakes Loons)

By Jordan Wolf / | June 30, 2019 9:41 PM

Miguel Vargas did it all at the plate Sunday ... except perhaps the easiest thing.

The Dodgers' No. 27 prospect went 4-for-5 with two homers, a triple and a double in Class A Great Lakes' 9-3 win over Fort Wayne at Parkview Field. He finished a single shy of the cycle while driving in four runs and scoring four times.

Video: Loons' Vargas's second dinger

Vargas lit the fuse right out of the gate, doubling off right-hander Angel Acevedo in the game's first at-bat before scoring on a single by Chris Roller. That spark ignited both the 19-year-old and the rest of the team, according to Loons manager John Shoemaker.

"There was a lot of excitement in the dugout from that point on," he said. "And I think it just led to him having a good day and us scoring some runs in this one."

In the second, Vargas wrestled through an eight-pitch at-bat before cranking a line-drive solo shot to left off Acevedo. In the following inning, the Cuba native went deep again, belting a three-run shot to left-center that plated Matt Cogen and No. 21 Leonel Valera and drove Acevedo from the game.

Gameday box score

The pair of homers marked just Vargas' second and third long balls of the season, and the fourth and fifth of his career. For a guy who hasn't displayed much power, typically producing almost exclusively as an opposite-field hitter, pulling two back-to-back big flies was surprising to his skipper.

"He only had one [homer] all season, it was to straightaway center field ... to hit two home runs today pulled, that was a rarity so far this year," Shoemaker said.

Vargas nearly homered again in the sixth when he tripled off the right-field fence off left-hander Cody Tyler, later crossing the plate on a sacrifice fly by Dillon Paulson. He narrowly missed it again in the seventh when he almost beat out a grounder to third, and finally lost his chance when he was stranded on deck in the ninth.

The third baseman sports a team-best .318 average on the season, tied for second in the Midwest League with Bowling Green's Wander Franco, who was promoted to Class A Advanced Charlotte, and behind circuit leader Xavier Edwards of Fort Wayne at .337. Last year, Vargas hit .330 across three separate levels as a rookie, including 23 games with the Loons to end the year.

That experience certainly provided a good foundation, but he's still in his first full year as a professional and hadn't yet taxed his body with the demands of a six-month season.

2019 MiLB include

"I think he was at two or three different levels last year, including here at the end of the season," Shoemaker said. "He only played in 53 games total ... so staying physically and mentally sharp is going to be key for any player. ... It's still going to be a big test to see how anyone, including Miguel, can handle the full season."

Jose Chacin (6-5) picked up the win after allowing two runs on seven hits with two strikeouts over eight innings.

Roller finished 2-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored and an RBI.

sdJordan Wolf is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @byjordanwolf. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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