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.
— 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.