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Dodgers: Alex Verdugo Should Be Everyday Leadoff Hitter

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)

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.

Verdugo Impresses

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.

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.

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.

What do you think?

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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.

12 Comments

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  1. Great idea but Robots is an idiot and loves platooning and how good our guys are so versatile that it really doesn’t matter if they are on fire. Robots is a momentum killer of players who find their stroke. Old news old same Robots.

    • I agree with you Roberts is so concerned about making everyone “Happy” by getting playing time he won’t play the best players consistently. Roberts was a fringe talent in the Majors and I think that “Bench guy mentality” makes him want to play everyone on the team.

      Verdugo is a major talent but they will bench him to play Taylor and Pederson once Pollock is back because Roberts is an idiot.

      • Pretty much sums it up here, tmaxter. I have decided to simply realize that certain things here just won’t change so to expect this idea to move forward with Roberts and puppet master Andy is just a waste of time.

        • Paul and tmaxster are absolutely correct in their positon re Verdugo. AV has hit consistently since making the 25 man roster; he is a decent fielder; a good team person. To platoon him is a disgrace!!!! Its time for Oberts to assert his leadership of this team; move away from platooning; and reward those who produce consistently. I have been happy seeing Muncy playing more against both right and left-handed pitching, notwithstanding his strikeouts last night. I still believe that to win you must go with a set lineup, absent injury, illness or family-related issues. Smokey Alston , did you ever bench, the Duke, Furillo, Robinson, Campy, etc? I think not. Go Blue!!!

          • BLUE LOU!!!!!!!!!!!! Nor would we have seen Aston platoon Garvey, Lopes Russell, Cey, R. Smith, Baker, Monday and all. Nor would we see Lasorda platoon Karros, Mondesi, Piazza and so on. But again, it matters not because Roberts and his puppet master will construct lineups the way they have no matter the previous day’s outcome and mainly to play those %. IIWII.

      • I couldn’t agree more! Pedersen has never hit for average, and constantly leaves runners on base, Taylor hasn’t hit, while Verdugo is just rotting on the bench. We’ve won the West despite Robert’s, not because of him and his platoon mentality, and pulling pitchers with shutouts and no hitters going. Yu Darvish in Game 7. I rest my case.

        • Maybe more credit should be given to Friedman. The last few years he as acquired stiff after stiff after stiff. Manny Machado, Yu Darvish, Brian Dozier and the list goes on. I wonder if Roberts is even able to make out his own line-ups?

  2. You are correct, he should be leading off every day. But no, we are going to give the low OPS hack Hernandez the spot with the hope that he hits a solo home run every 5 days. Or Joc so he can swing at every letter high pitch regardless of the situation. We need a hitter batting before our big guys. Period, old school end of story.

  3. I’ve said it many times before, the biggest need for the Dodgers is to replace the manager. His lineups make no sense and if it is the front office making it he should stand up and say he is the manager. The bullpen stinks and he has no idea how to use it. He has cost the Dodgers 4-5 games at least already this season. I totally agree with the previous comments posted. He should play the best players and not worry about hurt feelings.

  4. IF only the Dodgers decision-makers would see that Verdugo could be that lead-off hitter the Dodgers have been searching for. Verdugo has an eye for the strike-zone, will work the count for a walk, doesn’t really swing for the fences and makes adjustments to the pitch and count. Guys like Pederson, Hernandez and Taylor even with an 0-2 count, they don’t adjust and “cut-down their swing.”

  5. I concur with the above posts here at this time, but everyone here or who may not be here should know by now that playing those % is part of the FO and Robert’s scheme of things. It doesn’t matter what we or others say, they will do things their ‘way’ and ya won’t be seeing Verdugo lead off against LHP no matter what and probably not much against RHP either. It’s just the way it is right now.

    • We can only hope, AZUL!!!!! Joc did a fine job last night, as did Verdugo. And, even though I am not a big Maeda supporter, I must give him his props on his well-pitched game last night. Winning tends to spoil us, I guess, but I still believe that a set lineup is in the teams best interest. Go Blue!!!! Go PD Jr.!!!

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