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Dodgers: Insider Predicts Miguel Vargas Will Be NL Rookie of the Year This Season

ESPN insider Eric Karabell predicts that Dodgers prospect Miguel Vargas will win the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

The Dodgers are having a bit of a youth movement this year, and the most exciting name is Miguel Vargas. The young Cuban prospect has hit at every level of the minor leagues, and it looks like he'll probably be LA's starting second baseman in 2023.

Vargas's Triple-A line looked remarkably similar to Freddie Freeman's MLB line last year — Vargas had a .404 on-base percentage and .511 slugging percentage for a .915 OPS, while Freeman was .407 OBP, .511 SLG, .918 OPS. Of course, major-league pitching is harder to hit than Triple-A pitching, so it's probably too much to ask for Vargas to repeat that line. But Vargas can really hit, and we'll see that in Los Angeles this year.

Over at ESPN, they put together a column of bold predictions for some of this year's top prospects. The prediction from Eric Karabell about Vargas is pretty great.

Miguel Vargas (3B): Will earn top rookie honors

Vargas would've helped the Dodgers last season had they only let him. While he has typically played third base, he's their starting second baseman this year and his combination of power, patience and speed (let's project .280/.360/.475, with 15 home runs, 15 stolen bases, 75 runs) earns him top NL rookie honors.

Karabell predicts an .835 OPS for Vargas; his career mark in the minors is .878, so that's not crazy. Steamer projects Vargas for a .777 OPS, with most of the difference being a much lower batting average and on-base percentage. When you dig a little deeper, it's easy to see why — Vargas has always had high a high batting average on balls in play (BABIP) in the minors, but Steamer is normalizing him closer to the league average. His BABIP in the minors last year was .331; Steamer has him at .295 this year.

If Vargas's BABIP is close to where it was in the minors, his batting line will end up pretty close to Karabell's prediction, and the Dodgers could have their MLB-record 19th Rookie of the Year.