Second to Cody Bellinger, outfielder Alex Verdugo has been one of the most popular discussion pieces among fans of the Dodgers everywhere this season.
Offensively, the 22-year-old Tuscon native has come up big, time and time again. So far this season, he has accumulated 60 AB over 26 games, hitting an impressive .345/.367/.690 with four doubles, two triples, four homers and 16 RBI.
His .345 average is second on the squad, trailing only Bellinger, who is performing somewhere on the other side of the universe at the moment.
On defense, Verdugo has been outstanding. By now, everyone’s aware of his arm strength, as made evident by his outfield assist against the Brewers 10 days ago.
With the departure of Yasiel Puig, it’s certainly safe to say that Verdugo has the strongest arm in the system right now. As a matter of fact, there may be only a handful of pitchers in the organization who can consistently top an arm speed of 98.4 MPH.
Yet, despite his productivity, the left-handed hitting Verdugo’s 60 AB ranks tenth on the team. When he doesn’t start, he almost always appears off the bench; however, in Friday night’s 6-2 victory against the Pirates, he wasn’t used at all.
And here’s the crazy thing—last year at Triple-A Oklahoma City, his offensive splits were surprisingly better against left-handed pitching. In 96 AB against southpaws, he slashed .396/.442/.542 while hitting .304/.371/.445 against right-handed pitching. Sure, these are only Triple-A numbers, but the fact that his OPS was .168 higher against lefties is certainly significant.
In the majors this year, Verdugo is 4-for-10 against lefty pitching, and all four of those hits went for extra bases—a double, two triples ans a home run.
So what’s the problem? Los Angeles management is infamous for letting players work their way out of slumps. Before Saturday’s game, Max Muncy is hitting a paltry .218/.323/.462. Worse than that, Chris Taylor is hitting .175/.257/.254. Muncy has tallied 78 AB and Taylor has garnered 63, compared to Verdugo’s 60. Perhaps Verdugo’s playing time is being sacrificed in hopes of getting guys like Muncy and Taylor back on track.
Because Verdugo can effectively cover all three outfield spots, it should provide him the opportunity to see regular playing time, considering how much the Dodgers like to mix-up their lineups and rotate time among regular players. Conceivably, based on his performance so far this year, Verdugo should be at least in the team’s Top 7 when it comes to AB and plate appearances.
Of course, there have been intermittent reports of his lack of professionalism and poor attitude since his initial call to the bigs back in 2017. On occasion, he’s even been late, a circumstance the team believed it nipped in the bud two seasons ago.
If his professionalism is indeed bad enough to keep him relegated to the pine, one would think that the organization would have pulled the trigger on one of the many blockbuster trade opportunities the team was supposedly presented with over the past few years. When rival clubs engage in trade talks with the Dodgers, Verdugo’s name is normally one of the first to surface.
Or, maybe Los Angeles is being patient with Verdugo, giving him time to mature mentally and refine his professionalism. If the chats that Roberts has had with the youngster aren’t working, maybe his lack of playing time will.
Either way, it’s hard to keep a player with that kind of production on the bench—against both left-handed and right-handed pitching.
19 thoughts on “Dodgers Lineups: The Obligatory Alex Verdugo Post”
Do not know why the kid is not starting more, and why he is not starting ahead of Chris Taylor when they pitch a lefty. He is obviously the better choice. Main contributors from last year are not really hitting on all cylinders yet. Muncy is striking out more than last year. But to tell the truth I did not expect him to come close to last years numbers. Taylor is being given every chance to break out of his funk. In my opinion, too many chances. Send his worthless body to the morgue in OKC. Seager looks real good somedays and rusty on others, but I am not worried about him yet. Turner will find his power. Of his 94 career homers, only 2 have come before May. Belling broke Utley’s record for total bases before May and has a few more chances to add to that. Kike is not a middle of the order hitter period. But Dave and Ol Andy seem to think he is. Good for Barnes. His defense has been stellar and he needed a night like last night to get his confidence level back up. He gets some relief when Martin comes back this weekend. Smith hitting close to .300 at OKC, but not on the roster.
I meant Bellinger not Belling……Dennis, you need a thing on here where we can edit mistakes.! LOL
Just sent you an email to give you the capability to edit!
All of the negative reports I’ve heard on Verdugo were from past years. I haven’t heard any negatives on his attitude this year. The Dodgers had him work out with someone this off season (can’t remember who) and they concentrated not only on hitting but also on attitude. His teammates have also had some positive things to say about him this season. He just needs to make sure he keeps himself in check and uses his enthusiasm and energy in a positive way instead of an overbearing way.
From multiple connections of mine, I heard there were some problems during spring training. To what degree, I’m not certain.
Sorry all I sound like a broken record regarding Verdugo. The kid has all the talent in the world but remember youth is wasted on the young so we need to be patient but not take that fire away hopefully one of the veterans will take him under their wing.
As for Muncy whatever we get from we shall see. Should have traded him over the winter when he had some value.
Now Taylor he is a very useful ball player all around just needs some guidance in OKC for a couple of weeks and get his offense going if he would stop swinging out of his shoes on every swing that would be a start
The front office has had plenty off opportunities to move verdugo, but they haven’t, they must think he is going to be worth keeping. I’m going to assume if he was still having attitude issues he would be in OKC, if the attitude issues resurface I’m sure the FO could move him if they want, he sure isn’t doing anything to hurt his value right now. We could probably get more for him now than they could have in the past off season. He has proven himself IMO,I’m with most of you, that he should be getting more ABs against lefties, especially the weaker ones.
I love that Verdugo is playing well but I still just can’t get past those damn corn rows in his hair. I want to hold him down and shave his head.
He was late to the ballpark yesterday. Not gonna play if that’s a problem!
How can you have that opportunity, and not take it serious enough to show up on time? I hope he doesn’t get the attitude that he can do whatever he wants, he’s good, but he ain’t good enough to put up with a punk attitude.
That was a little Baez magic! They have to send Ferguson down. He’s not a major league pitcher until he learns a third pitch. Again he’d be devastating if he develops a nasty slider. SOMEBODY please teach him how to throw a slider!!!!!
And Kenley didn’t even give up a home run tonight!
Now maybe we can use him in 1 run save situations!
I have certainly not been the biggest Baez fan but over the last couple of years I have seen some real improvement. His new-found willingness to use his off speed stuff has made a huge difference and when he has a bad performance it doesn’t necessarily lead to a series of bad performances. In other words, he’s convinced me he’s more of an asset than I thought he would ever be. I was really happy for him last night when he got out of the Ferguson-created mess and to see him get a standing ovation from the crowd was really great. He certainly deserved it.
I’m a fan of stuff. Both he and Garcia got stuff. The question for me has always been can they command said stuff. They do and they be good. They do not and they be clobbered.
Probably could say the same for Kelly.
Hill activated today. My guess is that Ferguson will be the sacrificial lamb sent to OKC. With Urias now in the pen, they really do not need 3 lefty’s down there. Only way that does not happen is if someone goes on the IL. Baez was impressive last night. First time I have seen that kind of outing from him in a long time. But that new off speed pitch he has was a potent weapon.
Urias really showed me something in that 8th inning. The kid just has that something something on top of ace stuff!