Without question, the on-field impact of Alex Verdugo for the 2019 Dodgers has been invaluable. The 23-year old has been worth a 2.2 bWAR thus far this season. Moreover, Verdugo is regarded as one of the most valuable defensive outfielders in the game by advanced metrics.
However, it’s always interesting to hear how a new young player figures into a veteran clubhouse. The term ‘chemistry’ is pretty understated as long as you’re winning – and gets mentioned when things aren’t going well.
Alex Verdugo's 'youthful enthusiasm' keeps Dodgers charged up https://t.co/BibrABK7e8
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 22, 2019
Furthermore, there’s no better man to measure the impact of a guy within the clubhouse than manager Dave Roberts; expert of all-things clubhouse chemistry. So what does Roberts think of his young talent?
He’s very endearing,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, cracking a smile. “The more you’re around him, the more you understand him.
Perhaps so endearing that – Verdugo says in his first campaign in 2018 – he wasn’t quite himself. He was acting in a manner that he thought was most likely to please his teammates.
I kind of tried to act a certain way that I thought they would like,” Verdugo said. “Now, this year, it’s ‘be myself.’ I feel like everybody has opened to it and I think they can kind of see that it’s genuine.
At the moment, Verdugo is just being himself. That extends far beyond the highlight-reel defensive plays and beautiful natural swings that result in line drives. Indeed, Verdugo’s personality is full of flash.
It’s possible you heard about his Volver Volver walk-up song. What’s more, Verdugo likes to wear some jewelry to add sizzle to his appearance while playing.
I like the jewelry – I like the way it shines, I like the way it looks. It’s something that just gives me a little more confidence. It kind of gives you that edge too. People look at you like, ‘Who’s this guy with all this stuff? He’s got more chains on than service time.’ I just laugh about it, man. I’m all for it.
Verdugo is a cool player to watch. Any time that a player’s make-up is interesting and his play can match that, it’s a win for the sport. Lastly, it’s great to see his success in adding a wrinkle of flavor and excitement that didn’t exist before he stepped into the Dodgers’ locker room.