Better 25-Man Roster Option: Max Muncy or Alex Verdugo?

With the Dodgers having won six of their last seven games, there’s really not much for fans to complain about these days, especially since the team is now only 3-1/2 games out of the division lead. However, when considering the overall scope of the 25-man roster, many people familiar with the club are still wondering if the team is indeed using the best available players at the big league level.

I think the bullpen is an animal of it’s own. It’s probably going to take quite a bit of trial and error before management gets a feel for which eight-man combination works the best. It could take most of the season, or it may require the organization to make a move or two as the trade deadlines approach over the summer. Aside from Kenley Jansen and maybe Ross Stripling—assuming the club’s best five starting pitchers are healthy—there aren’t any spots at all set in stone right now.

One particular thought I had, though, revolved around the position-player portion of the active roster. When considering the frequency which Cody Bellinger has been playing center field lately, I wondered which left-handed hitter would be better to have on the 25-man roster—Max Muncy or Alex Verdugo.

There are many factors that could apply to this debate. First and foremost, while Muncy’s glove isn’t as nearly as good as Bellinger’s at first base, it is his natural position, and he does provide adequate cover there—probably a bit more effectively than Chase Utley, Logan Forsythe, Enrique Hernandez or Yasmani Grandal. But as far as I can see, that may be the only clear cut advantage in Muncy’s favor.

One could also argue that Muncy has the ability to spell Justin Turner at third base. And while Forsythe undeniably has the skills to handle defensive duties at the hot corner, the same person would contend that keeping him at the keystone could take pressure off his game and perhaps ignite his otherwise slumbering bat.

While Muncy definitely has a bigger offensive sample size than Verdugo, I’m not so sure who has the better offensive tools. Verdugo hit for a better average earlier in the year, but Muncy has a much higher success rate when it comes to reaching base. Consequently, Muncy is one of those guys who also seems to come through in the clutch. With runners in scoring position this year, he’s hitting an amazing .368/.500/1.237, which is extraordinarily impressive when considering the team’s overall tendency to struggle in such situations.

But as far as overall defense goes, although we’re comparing apples to oranges, I think Verdugo may have the upper-hand. He’s probably the second-best defensive outfielder in the organization next to Yasiel Puig. And while most fans already know that Verdugo can capably handle all three outfield spots, there aren’t many who realize the strength of his arm. In impressive fashion, he was tabbed as having the best outfield arm in the PCL by Baseball America for the 2017 season, which I think speaks volumes when taking into account the amount of talent at that level.

Furthermore, for the number of times we’ve seen Muncy at the top of the order lately, it’s certainly conceivable that Verdugo’s speed would play much better in those spots. Verdugo hardly ever strikes out, and his bat control is fantastic. At Triple-A Oklahoma City this year, Verdugo has whiffed only 17 times in 110 plate appearances.

Taking everything into consideration, the end result could be a push any way you look at it. Perhaps management has already made their own evaluations, and maybe the final decision came down to several intangible factors such as work ethic, attitude or clubhouse presence—elements which we as fans are often not privy to knowing. Or perhaps Verdugo’s spot eventually whittled down to a direct comparison between him and fellow outfielder Joc Pederson.

Either way, it’s an interesting debate, and it’s something the club may examine as the season progresses, especially if Mucy’s .234 average continues to drift downward.

 

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Better 25-Man Roster Option: Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo or Andrew Toles?

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

Sometimes I think fans get tired of hearing the phrase, “It’s still very early in the season.” Yet as annoying as it may sound, it does have plenty of validity. The MLB schedule is certainly a long one, and the main strategy of a management crew is to have the best possible squad on the field peaking as one unit at the precise moment the playoffs roll around.

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Dodgers Roster: Who Will Be the High-Upside Players in 2018?

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(Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

The Think Blue gang has spent a lot of time in the prediction and prospect business over the past week. And why not? With spring training just a few days away and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ roster, for the most part, camp-ready (with a pair of major exceptions in Matt Kemp and Chase Utley), there’s not much more to talk about.

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Dodgers Prospect Watch: What Lies Ahead for Alex Verdugo?

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

As several of the biggest baseball outlets have already released their annual Top 100 prospects rankings this week, the Dodgers have once again proven that they possess a wealth of talent by having four players listed in both Baseball America‘s and Keith Law‘s ranking packages.

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What Will October Look Like for the Dodgers?

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September looks different for these Dodgers, very different. Within the first week of the month, the Boys in Blue have not looked like their normal selves, as the pitching and offense have not been at their usual championship-worthy levels. Don’t get used to it, though, because before you know it, the Dodgers will hit their stride again and we’ll go back to being amazed with their caliber of play.

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Dodgers Add Kershaw, Ethier, Segedin, Verdugo & Dickson to Expanded Roster

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(Mandatory Credit: Ross D. Franklin/AP)

The Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday reinstated left-handed pitcher Clayton Kershaw from the 10-day disabled list, recalled infielder/outfielder Rob Segedin from Triple-A Oklahoma City, selected the contracts of outfielder Alex Verdugo and infielder/outfielder O’Koyea Dickson from OKC and reinstated outfielder Andre Ethier from the 60-day disabled list.

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Dodgers News: Kershaw’s Return, Roster Expansion, Losing Streak & More

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(Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

As I was watching the game on Wednesday, one of the announcers (I think Orel Hershiser, but my apologies if it wasn’t) made a flip remark about Clayton Kershaw being the stopper, brought in to stop losing streaks. And I thought, “Oh goodness, it’s been three games so far, sure, but no way they’ll need him to stop a five game losing streak.”

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Dodgers Roster: Let’s Talk a Little More About Alex Verdugo

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

Amid a rough point of offensive woes, every time Joc Pederson begins to drift into the doghouse of the Dodgers fan base, he seemingly does just enough to slide back into good graces for just a little while longer. Wednesday night was no different, as Pederson and right fielder Yasiel Puig were the offensive catalysts in what turned out to be a 3-2 victory in the middle contest of a three-game series against the Diamondbacks in Arizona.

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Dodgers Roster Expansion: What to Expect in Early September

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(Mandatory Credit: Ross D. Franklin/AP)

In just a little over three weeks, many rosters across baseball will be expanding in size as allowed by MLB regulations, and the Dodgers will presumably be seeing quite a few additions to the active squad. Many fans are vaguely familiar with the methodology, as there are a few who admittedly don’t know the finer details of the whole process. Yet those folks can remain at ease, because we’re conveniently here to shine a little light on some of the rules and make a few predictions as to which players will be (re)joining the team.

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Which Prospects Would Dodgers Sacrifice for an Elite Starting Pitcher?

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

With the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline now only a handful of days away, pundits around the league are still just speculating about any potential moves from the Dodgers, as the club’s front office continues to appear relatively calm and quiet.

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