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Dodgers: Alex Verdugo Is Working Through His First Big Slump

Outfielder concentrates on not getting too ‘pull-happy’, hits long home run.

Lately, Alex Verdugo has been slumping for the Los Angeles Dodgers. This is backed up in the numbers – as Verdugo hit just .211 with no homers from May 12 to June 10. Of course, this happens for all young players. Therefore, it’s how they respond and make adjustments which shows what you have in a player when the cement hardens.

Furthermore, Verdugo talks about these adjustments with Mike Digiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. And the rookie had a very nice weekend against the Chicago Cubs, proof that the work is paying off.

First, Verdugo hit a long home run that accounted for the Dodgers sole run on Saturday evening. At 459 feet, it was the longest Dodgers home run of the season. Here’s a look at the blast in case you were asleep like I was.

Obviously a blast like that comes along rarely for a player. Verdugo commented on the distance of the home run.

“That’s pretty far — that’s pretty out there, man,” Verdugo said with a grin on Sunday. “It felt great. It was the perfect swing. I took a line-drive approach, ended up getting it a little more elevated with backspin, and it was a good result.”

Indeed, his approach getting mention is because he did something different that achieved result. So what is Verdugo doing differently with his swing right now?

“When I get a little too pull-happy or my shoulder starts flying out, my swing starts breaking down,” the left-handed-hitting Verdugo said. “I get frustrated because you’re like, ‘What happened?’ And you look at video and you realize, ‘I got way too big instead of just trying to hit a line drive.’ ”

This is good to hear – knowing that he is getting pull-happy and keeping his shoulder in longer. Moreover, Cody Bellinger has commented similarly on the extensive video work that has made a difference in his 2019 season.

Clearly, the Dodgers have a player with immense upside in Verdugo. Now when you have a player that is this talented, and he’s willing to put in the work when he goes through a slump; the sky is the limit.

It’s true what they say: talent plus work-ethic equal limitless results. If the Dodgers continue to exercise patience with Verdugo and allow him to get his plate appearances, they should end up with another great player. Looking back on the handling of other outfielders like Bellinger and Joc Pederson, there’s no reason to think that they won’t.

What kind of ceiling do you see for Verdugo long-term? Let us know in the comments section below.

Written by Clint Evans

Clint lives in Ohio, and played collegiate baseball. He loves the Dodgers due to his first memories of Chavez Ravine when he was nine years old. The voice of Vin Scully has been a staple in his life since he was a kid. No amount of baseball talk is ever enough, and he wishes the regular season was year round. He has written about baseball online since 2007.

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  1. Not looking forward to when Pollock comes back and takes the centerfield slot away from Alex and puts Alex on the bench. I think that would be a mistake, but Roberts has already indicated that Pollock will play. Again, I disagree and say, let the kid play. That nice little catch yesterday in the 9th inning to end the game and preserve the Dodgers victory was pretty impressive. Cant say for sure if Pollock would have made that catch!

    • All players will slump, especially young ones like Verdugo. I like the way he WAR’s out with every day playing time. He’s shown me his ceiling can be pretty high. I like how he plays CF too.

  2. Hey Clint, good post on Alex. He seems like a likable kid and looks like his teams have embraced him. I have a few questions; let’s say Verdugo stays hot, do you really think Roberts will sit him in favor of Pollock? Or does he sit Pederson? Or platoon the 3 of them? What if the entire outfield continues to play well and Pollock doesn’t, what do they do with him? They signed him for 5 years so they’ve got to play him but at what cost? That suggests a trade but would you trade Pederson or Verdugo knowing Pollock’s injury history? I didn’t think the signing of Pollock, especially for 5 years, was the right move when they did it and now it’s even more confusing. If he doesn’t return to form then the only way is a contract swap. Is there another Homer Bailey out there?

    • Thanks for the read and comment, CB.

      I think the hill they will die on is Pollock. That said, we should see a healthy rotation of bodies (5 guys in 4 spots) involving Bellinger at 1B possible, the three you mention and some Muncy and Freese rotating. Feel like Verdugo should be able to play his way into an every day role still. Unless Pollock is substantially better.

      • I know nothing is set in stone but I thought Roberts said Bellinger would not play first base this year. Since Garlick is an outfielder I’m guessing he would go down when Pollock returns so if Bellinger stays in right that leaves 3 players (add Taylor when Seager returns) to play 2 positions. Do you see Taylor or Pederson involved in a trade for a reliever?

        Signing Pollock to 5 years is really having an effect on a number of different scenarios the team could be looking at.

  3. the dodgers are ruing him and his abilities……bat in a different position or sit him in multiple games and not start….dodgers need to let him know what they want him to do and if he doesn’t want those terms, then he should move on….if he is so good, why is he batting with the lower five, taylors, kiki, barnes, a pitcher, martin…….if he gets a hit, next batter up is an auto out, so why hit or have to hit a home run to be noticed

    • In general – and this is primarily my opinion no one else’s – I think there is too much lineup tinkering in general. Leave guys alone, and let them get their numbers. But I can say that until I am blue in the face, it’s not going to stop under this regime; and they’re winning with how they are doing things. So what do I know.

      • We you and I and others know is that this constant lineup tinkering will basically get them by in the regular season but when it comes time for the PS with elite pitching more at the forefront, this regime’s tinkering philosophy will be exposed and there may not even be a WS appearance as a result, just saying.

  4. Verdugo has a wonderful game, and his head is always IN the game. Even when he is not hitting, his defense has been excellent for the most part. However, a young player needs stability, and to continually move his position in the lineup or his outfield assignment is not desirable. Lets give this young man a fair chance!!!! Go Blue!!!

    • Heck of a catch to end the game on Father’s Day. I read that it was like a 30% probability of him to get to it off the bat, something insane like that.

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