In each of the past 3 seasons Alex Verdugo has been listed as a top prospect. This merited him being called up the past 2 Septembers during the roster expansions. Although it was a small sample, his performance was just mediocre. In 2019, Verdugo has made the case that he should be the Dodgers everyday leadoff hitter.
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) May 10, 2019
Alex Verdugo has gotten off to an impressive start. In 94 at bats, he is slashing .340/.382/.564 with 4 home runs and 19 RBI. No moment seems too big for him. He backs up his outspoken confidence with veteran-like composure at the plate. In fact, last Saturday in the top of the 9th inning he drew a 2-out walk to bring in the go-ahead, and ultimately, the winning run against the San Diego Padres. That walk came against the April “Reliever of the Month”, Kirby Yates and after going 3-4 in his other plate appearances that day.
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) May 5, 2019
Beyond the Numbers
Aside from his slash line, Verdugo’s ability to hit both right-handed and left-handed pitchers, makes an easy case for him to be the daily leadoff hitter. In fact, the numbers actually show he’s hitting lefty’s slightly better. He’s currently slashing .328/.362/.516 against RHP and a better .379/.438/.690 against LHP. Although Verdugo walks a team worst 6.9% of the time, he further makes his lead off case with his low strike out rates and ability to put the ball in play.
He strikes out a team best once per 9.3 at bats and puts the ball in play a team best 79% of the time.
Beyond just the numbers, Alex Verdugo’s energy is infectious and the team loves it.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 4, 2019
Like Yasiel Puig before him, without the reckless abandon of course, he can single-handedly change the momentum of a game. He’s a spark, someone who can change the course of a game with a clutch single and pumping fists. Kiké Hernandez has a similar spark, but his approach differs. Kiké gets base hits as a by-product of his home run hitting approach. Verdugo hits home runs as a by-product of his base hit approach. With A.J. Pollock sidelined for at least another 6 weeks, now is the time to give Verdugo the shot he’s been waiting 2 years for. No more platooning him, Alex Verdugo should be the Dodgers everyday leadoff hitter.