I speak for most fans, I hope, when I say that I am very excited for Alex Verdugo and his future with the Dodgers! He was a part of the first round of September callups and has been battling to get opportunities with a crowded roster.
Since his debut on September 1st, Verdugo has 3 hits in 15 at-bats, which comes out to an average of just .200. One of those hits was his first MLB home run that he hit on Sunday!
— Los Dodgers (@LosDodgers) September 11, 2017
The numbers don’t seem very attractive, but keep in mind that it is an extremely small sample size. Along with being a small sample size, the time in between his appearances has been very inconsistent.
The moral of the story is to not give up on this guy just yet just because he isn’t making an immediate impact like Cody Bellinger did. In his career in the minors he had a slash line of .305/.362/.438, with 35 home runs and 137 walks.
Whether or not he’s done enough, or will do enough, to earn a spot on the playoff roster is uncertain as of right now; however, if he doesn’t start getting more playing time soon it’s hard to imagine seeing him in October.
One of the biggest holes that the Dodgers have is an inconsistent center-fielder and left-fielder. It’s pretty safe to say that Yasiel Puig will be in right field and Chris Taylor will be in either left field or center field. That leaves a few options for the Dodgers to fill that last starting role in the outfield.
They could use Curtis Granderson, who has been struggling since becoming a Dodger. He currently has a slash line of .114/.262/.286, though his veteran experience can be valuable to the club. Andre Ethier is another option, and his bat seems to be making a comeback with four hits in the thirteen at-bats he’s had since coming back, including a home run. Lastly, Joc Pederson makes the most sense but only if he’s able to figure out his troubles at the plate, which it doesn’t look like he has. Since rejoining the club, he has just one hit in ten at-bats. This comes after having a terrible month of August in the majors where he hit just .054.
Other than those three, the Dodgers don’t have many options. If Adrian Gonzalez finds a way to get healthy and be productive then we could see Cody Bellinger fill that hole in the outfield, but A-Gon has not looked very good since coming off the disabled list. Kiké Hernandez is another player that can be thrown into the mix, but his lack of starts, and opportunities in general as of late, makes it seem like he is not in the running. However, his impressive slash line of .313/.313/.375 so far in the month of September should give him a good chance. He has also been a favorite all year long against lefties, which definitely helps his case.
Expect for September to be a very competitive month as all of these players try and prove their worth. With all of that said, it seems very unlikely that Alex Verdugo doesn’t make the Opening Day roster as a starter in 2018. This will be even more of a guarantee if Joc Pederson’s struggles continue this year and into spring training next year.