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Biggest Dodger Surprise: The Case For Alex Verdugo

He can hit, he can defend, and he’s naaaaaasty.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 08: Alex Verdugo #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his RBI single to take a 7-4 lead over the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium on May 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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.

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.

Offensive Case

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.

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.

Defensive Case

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.

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.

Written by Jason McClure

Technically a Dodgers bandwagon fan. At 5 years old, I decided they were my favorite team after hearing they won the World Series on my mom’s car radio in 1988. My father (technically my stepfather) watered that seed, teaching me the game and introducing me to the beauty of Dodger Stadium. We got to know each other and bonded over games. Even when we couldn’t get along during my teenage years, we could come together over Vin Scully’s voice and a game. Dodger baseball is, and will always be, so much more than just a game.

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  1. 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.

    • 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.

  2. 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.

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