Dodgers Prospect Watch: Michael Busch
Name: Michael Busch
Vitals: Second base, first base, left fielder, 6' 0", 207, age 22, bats left, throws right. From Grove Heights, Minnesota.
Draft: Selected by the Dodgers as the 31st overall pick in the 2019 draft out of the University North Carolina.
Highest level of play: 2019 Great Lakes Loons.
Potential date for major league debut: 2022/2023.
Baseball America scouting report (subscription required): “Busch broke his right hand after getting hit by a pitch in just his fifth game, but he returned for the end of the Arizona Fall League and reached base in 12 of 22 plate appearances…[m]any teams thought Busch possessed the best pure swing of the 2019 draft…swing mechanics are sound, he covers the whole plate and he can manipulate his hands to hit balls in all parts of the strike zone…more of a patient, line-drive hitter than a masher…[t]hough Busch played first base and left field [at North Carolina], the Dodgers drafted him as a second baseman and believe his short-area quickness and elite work ethic will help him …[t]The Dodgers are confident they got a plus hitter in Busch. Now, it's about seeing how his power and defense develop.”
Comment: Michael Busch isn’t known for his speed nor his defense, but his power is something to watch. He is listed as the Dodgers ninth best prospect by Baseball America and the sixth best second base prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB.com.
In 2019, after playing five games for the Dodgers’ Arizona League rookie team, where he went 2-11 (.182) with no extra base hits and six walks, Busch was promoted to the A-ball Great Lakes Loons, where he played another five games. Upon returning from the broken hand, he finished the stint 1-13 (.077) but would return later that year to play in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit his first professional home run, going 3-13 (.231) with nine walks in five games.
In three seasons at UNC Busch hit .282/.428/.492 with 32 HR and 142 RBIs. In 2018, he led the Tar Heels in HR (13), RBI (63), BB (55), SLG (.521), OBP (.465), OPS (.985) and tied for the lead in HBP (13). In 2019, he also led the team in walks (63) and was second on the team in HR (16). Translation: this guy is patient, draws a lot of walks, can hit the ball out of the yard and drives in a lot of runs.
Scouts believe Busch has a high offensive ceiling and I'll be excited to see what he does with a full season of professional baseball under his belt, which given the COVID-19 shutdown, may not be until 2021.
Jake Reiner is a native-Angeleno and is currently a sports and news reporter for KCBS/KCAL, Channels 2&9, where he has covered the Dodgers, Lakers, Chargers, and most recently traveled with the Rams for the entire season as the beat reporter for KCBS.
Photo courtesy of Great Lakes Loons.