Dodgers: Alex Verdugo Looks to Make the Grade in 2019
The Dodgers kept their top prospect of 2018, Alex Verdugo, in Triple-A for the majority of the season. In 2019 he will look to make an impact so he can make the player grades in 2019.
As part of our annual tradition at Dodgers Way, we take a look at each player’s season and assign them a grade based on how they did for that prior season. For Alex Verdugo, his grade for 2018 would be inconclusive. He only received 77 at-bats in 2018 and spent the bulk of his season with the Oklahoma City Dodgers.
For 2019, Verdugo should not only receive enough playing time to receive a grade, but he is projected to start in right field. The departure of Yasiel Puig to Cincinnati all but assures that barring injury or another big-time addition, Alex will be the starter in right field on opening day. It has been a long time coming for the former top prospect who was buried behind the Dodgers’ Major League surplus of outfielders.
For his brief MLB stint in 2018, Verdugo hit .260 with one home run in 77 at-bats. One promising sign for the Dodgers is that six of Alex’s twenty hits were doubles. While Verdugo will never be a power threat and probably never top 15 home runs in a season, he is a gap to gap hitter who should hit plenty of doubles and triples for the blue. While he may not start the 2019 season as a leadoff hitter, he will one day be a solid leadoff hitter who is tough to strikeout.
More from LA Dodgers News
- Giants laughably sign pitcher that Dodgers absolutely own
- Dave Roberts’ quote about Padres in NLDS should motivate Dodgers
- Former Astro seemingly takes uncalled for shot at Cody Bellinger after Cubs deal
- Dodgers’ 2023 lineup without Trea Turner isn’t as impressive as it should be
- Recapping who Dodgers gained and lost in Rule 5 Draft
In Triple-A, Verdugo hit ten home runs and posted a .329/.391/.472 slash line to go along with his solid defense and stellar arm. Alex also kept his solid contact skills up as he struck out in just 12% of his at-bats which is around his career norm for the minor leagues. In his two stints with the Dodgers, he has struck out roughly 16% of the time. The Dodgers could use a contact hitter to mix with all their strikeout prone power hitters
In his cup of coffee with the Dodgers in 2018, Verdugo had a rough go at it in right field as he committed one error and missed several plays that while they were not labeled errors, they should have been made. Chalk that one up to nerves as his Triple-A season was much better in right field as he committed just one error in over 200 innings.
The Dodgers will hand the keys to right field over to Alex Verdugo in 2019 and how he does could go a long way in determining how good the 2019 Dodgers are. If he succeeds the Dodgers may have another rookie of the year award winner but if he crashes then the Dodgers may need to pursue an outfield bat at or before the trade deadline. There is a lot of pressure on the younger players to perform in 2019, but perhaps none more than the pressure on Alex Verdugo.