The Dodgers beat the Giants in Miguel Vargas’ major league debut

His first time on a major league diamond, Michael Vargas came exactly as advertised.

There was patience on the plate, with the Dodgers‘ the rookie dismissed a few two-strike pitches out of the box in his first career at bat on Wednesday.

There was power in the swing, with the right-handed hitter burning a 106 mph rocket the other way for an RBI ground rule double.

Then the highly touted 22-year-old prospect — one of many young talents the Dodgers protected during a quiet trade deadline the day before — also showed off his swaggering self-confidence.

On the next pitch, and completely on his own, he broke for third base and stole it easily with a headfirst slide.

“I just felt amazing,” Vargas said through an interpreter when asked what prompted his daring attempt. “I didn’t feel like anyone could stop me.”

The San Francisco Giants certainly didn’t make it on Wednesday night as Vargas went two-for-four with two RBIs in his major league debut, helping the Dodgers to a 3-0 victory in front of 35,400 at Oracle Park.

“I was really nervous when I was on the circle on the bridge [before the first at-bat]said Vargas. “But once I entered the box, I didn’t feel anything.”

For months, Vargas had been knocking on the door of a major league call-up.

After evolving his swing and adding traction-side power, he became one of the Dodgers’ best minor leaguers in 2021.

A consensus top-100 prospect entering this season, he had some dazzling performances this spring as a guest at major league camp, leaving an impression on manager Dave Roberts and his staff.

He then eliminated any lingering doubts about his readiness by tearing up the triple-A with a .291 batting average, 15 homers, 72 RBIs and .880 on-base plus slugging percentage, earning him a spot in last month’s Futures Game at Dodger Stadium.

“He’s just growing in the total package,” player development director Will Rhymes said at the time.

Still, Vargas had to wait, biding his time behind other veterans on the team’s org depth chart as his name was constantly mentioned in trade rumors leading up to Tuesday’s deadline.

Vargas said he shrugged off speculation and focused on his game – making his defense a point of honor at third base and in the outfield, the latter position he had never played before this season.

Dodgers' Miguel Vargas breaks his bat on a field single that scored Max Muncy.

The Dodgers’ Miguel Vargas breaks his bat on a field single that scored Max Muncy in the fourth inning against the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco on Wednesday.

(Jeff Chiu/Associated Press)

“It’s a new position and it was tough at first,” Vargas said. “But now I feel pretty comfortable there.”

I finally got a call to join the major league team this week, although he was initially told it would be as a member of the taxi team.

However, following a roster shake-up at Deadline, which included Justin Turner on the injured roster, the team changed course and placed Vargas on the active roster instead.

He arrived in San Francisco midway through Tuesday night’s game, greeting his new teammates with hugs in the dugout.

Then he shone in the Dodgers’ win on Wednesday, opening the scoring with his double in the second inning before tacking on another RBI with a field single in the fourth.

Vargas’ confidence, Roberts said, is “innate”, which the manager says he believes comes from Vargas’ father Lazaro, who was a legendary player in Cuba – from where he and Vargas defected in 2015 .

“He always looks at the pitch, understands the game,” Roberts said. “It’s an incredible ability to slow things down.”

Julio Urías pitched over six scoreless innings in the victory, lowering his ERA to 2.57. Reliever Evan Phillips escaped a goal-filled traffic jam in the seventh, the second straight night he extinguished the Giants’ biggest threat.

And Craig Kimbrel narrowly avoided disaster in the ninth, loading the bases with one out before holding his 19th save.

Afterwards, however, Vargas was the center of attention, greeted with a shower of beer on his return to the clubhouse before answering questions in front of his locker with a grin from ear to ear.

“I always dreamed of this moment and prepared myself for this moment,” Vargas said. “I was ready for this moment.”

It’s unclear how long Vargas could stay in the majors.

Turner and Chris Taylor (who hit two homers during his triple-A rehab assignment on Wednesday) could be back next week. And while Roberts said Vargas can play left field and various infield spots, the roster crunch could prevent the rookie from getting regular at bats.

Still, Roberts hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Vargas contributing down the stretch.

“He definitely has a ton of talent, so putting him in that environment is definitely a good opportunity,” Roberts said. “Yes, it could be short. It could be longer. I guess only time will tell.