Biggest Dodger Surprise: The Case For Alex Verdugo
Much had been heard about Alex Verdugo over the past few seasons. He has graced many top prospect lists and as such, has also been a highly sought after prospect. Nearly all of the Dodgers’ trade discussions over the past couple years have mentioned him, fortunately for Dodgers fans the front office didn’t bite.
#Dodgers confident they can acquire an ace, but deal for Yu Darvish could require trading Alex Verdugo, sources say: https://t.co/kbmBtm4gHP pic.twitter.com/oYH5f92gKF
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 27, 2017
Alex Verdugo had dominated every level of the minors, but as collateral damage from the Dodgers outfield surplus, he’d been stuck there. After an offseason salary dump trade that included moving 2 outfielders, followed up by an injury to starting center fielder, AJ Pollock, Dugie finally got his shot.
Verdugo is a hitter through and through. In 303 first-half PA appearances he has slashed .303/.350/.489 and a .839 OPS. He doesn’t have the power numbers that some of the other Dodger rookies have posted in the past, but his 9 home runs, 20 doubles (2nd on Dodgers), and 39 RBIs halfway through the season are nothing to sniff at. Additionally, his 29 strikeouts are the fewest among Dodgers’ starters and his 9.4 AB per strikeout is the best in the NL and 4th best in all of baseball.
Alex Verdugo is now hitting .354 against left-handed pitchers. That's the second highest lefty vs. lefty average in the Majors.
— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) July 7, 2019
Also notable is his situational hitting. Verdugo leads the Dodgers and is tied for 2nd in all of baseball, with 6 sacrifice flies and he boasts and he boasts a .292 batting average with runners in scoring position. Anyway you look at it, he’s just a quality hitter against any situation and any pitcher. In fact, he even removes the typical lefty-on-lefty pitching advantage because he hits them to a tune of .354 and still, .281 against righties. Dodger fans heard about his pure hitting abilities in the minors, but his ability to bring it to the big league level so quickly has surprised us all.
Alex Verdugo with a diving catch for the win ? pic.twitter.com/3uPaE3kK4i
— ESPN (@espn) June 17, 2019
Alex Verdugo’s has defensively impressed as well. The Dodgers outfielder has committed just 1 error all season, his fielding percentage is a very solid .993, and his 4 OF assists is tied with 6 others for 4th best in the NL. Diving a little deeper in to the defensive sabermetrics, his 10 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), is tied with 2 other players for 2nd best in the NL behind none other than Cody Bellinger, with 18 DRS. Also, looking at Total Zone Runs, Dugie ranks 2nd on the Dodgers at 6.
ICYMI #Dodgers Alex Verdugo has been a top 100 prospect for 4 years. But a big-league role has been hard to come by. "I’ve always been ready. So I can’t say I’m more ready. I hit .330 for 2 years (in AAA). I mean – at a certain point, numbers don’t lie"https://t.co/8QeCsmQwPT
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) March 2, 2019
While the front office might have know what they had in Verdugo, many fans did not and he has been a very pleasant surprise. He came in to the season with extreme confidence stating the he’s been ready and basically has been waiting on the Dodgers. This this kinda talk could self-inflict crumbling pressure on many rookies to perform, but not Verdugo. The way he approaches his at-bats is the same way he approached the season, confident in himself and does not extend beyond his abilities. Verdugo walks the walk.
If the return of AJ Pollock reduces the at bats for Alex Verdugo I will be SICK.
Verdugo has proven he is an everyday player and the Dodgers best option in center field.
He shouldn’t lose at bats to Pollock. He should be everyday left fielder. As much as I love him, Joc is odd man out with his weakness to left-handed pitching.
So keep Verdugo, trade Pollock for some bullpen help. Two problems solved.
I have been saying that for MONTHS!!!!!! Trust me, the powers that be are not listening to any of us. Heck, at this point I’d be happy if they just put Pederson back in left, moved Verdugo to right and let Bellinger play 1st again. Why we are doing all these things to get Pollock in the lineup is a mind boggler He (Pollock) really has not done a thing since he got here. Verdugo has proven he should be an everyday player, the minute Pollock was hurt Verdugo stepped up and everyone knows it. Last nite against Boston, as Verdugo sat on the bench so Pollock could play, I saw Dave Roberts trying to console him about something………but I don’t know what they were talking about. But one thing you could tell………..Verdugo and “Dave” had obviously talked about something that made “Dave” feel the need to console him.
Clearly, Alex has been one of the bigger surprises of the season. He consistently brings runners home, when they are in scoring position. This guy is clutch. He is way better than AJ Pollock.
Clutch, defense and swag. This young player has been absolutely impressive!