With the 2019 season over, the Dodgers must make a decision on their rookies and how to move forward with them. With each of them excelling in their own way, one of them stood out but was overlooked.
Alex Verdugo was one of the hottest hitters for the team, but his injuries cost him the end of his season, as well as the postseason.
Verdugo is not new to the Major leagues. He had a few at-bats in 2017 for the Dodgers and then a few more in 2018, but nothing compared to his hefty load coming into the 2019 season. It was announced that Verdugo would be a full-time starter in 2019.
However, Verdugo got to shine the most while A.J. Pollock was injured from April 28th to July 12th. During that time he was able to make a name for himself, as he hit .297 with six home runs and 24 RBI.
When Pollock returned, Verdugo had proved he could perform and continued to be a regular starter. With the Joc Pederson first base experiment, Verdugo was able to contribute to the Dodgers historic year.
In the 2019 season, his rookie year, Verdugo hit .294 with 12 home runs. He had 44 RBI, an OPS of .817, and a WAR of 3.1. Offensively, Verdugo had one of the hottest bats on the year.
He was part of the 3-peat rookie walk-off that made Dodger’s history and contributed to a couple of the other walk-offs that the Dodgers were constantly getting.
Defensively, Verdugo was just as productive as he was offensively; he made great strides in the outfield. He consistently was improving and with that brought great energy to the team and stadium.
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As August rolled around, the Dodgers were looking ahead as the postseason was lingering. However, Verdugo was placed on the injured list on August 6 due to an oblique strain.
Unfortunately for the rookie, he continuously battled other injuries while on the IL, including a back strain as well. Sadly for Verdugo and the Dodgers, he was unable to play the rest of the year including the postseason.
And he was greatly missed.
On top of his play in the field, he was a spark in the dugout as well. He provided a lot of energy that the Dodgers fed off of, and you could tell it was missed.
As the Dodgers entered the postseason, they were unable to perform as they did in the regular season. With the team being unable to bring in runners in scoring position, as well as some questionable calls to the bullpen, Verdugo’s hot bat may have been something the Dodgers needed.
As a team whose players rally off each other, a few crucial at-bats could have really been the deciding factor in several games of the NLDS. With 106 wins on the year, this team easily should have advanced but were sadly sent home early.
As we move forward, we can only hope that Verdugo can remain healthy enough to contribute next year with his incredible 2019 performance. And we can only hope we can have Dodgers baseball a little bit longer next year with his help.