Alex Verdugo

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Alex Brady Verdugo

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Biographical Information[edit]

Alex Verdugo made his major league debut in 2017.

He was taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second round of the 2014 amateur draft, the #62 overall pick and LA's second pick, following Grant Holmes. He signed for a $914,600 bonus. [1] He spent most of the summer with the AZL Dodgers, hitting .347/.423/.518 with 8 steals in 8 tries and 33 runs in 49 games, drawing 20 walks while fanning 14 times, and was also 8-for-20 for the Ogden Raptors. He was second in the Arizona League in average, was second with 59 hits (7 behind Michael Gettys), tied Jonas Lantigua for the double lead (14), was third in RBI, had the lowest strikeout rate and was second in OBP. He joined Matt McPhearson and Gettys as the AZL All-Star outfielders and Baseball America rated him as the loop's #6 prospect, between Spencer Adams and Monte Harrison. [2]

In 2015, he hit .295/.325/.394 in 101 games for the Great Lakes Loons, while registering 21 outfield assists. He also hit .385/.406/.659 with 20 runs and 19 RBI in 23 games for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. He was 8th in the Midwest League in average and had the most outfield assists. Baseball America rated him as having the league's top outfield arm. [3] His 159 hits led Dodgers farmhands (12 ahead of Corey Seager) and his 32 doubles tied for 7th. Baseball America named him as the #100 prospect in baseball entering 2016.

Verdugo produced at a .273/.336/.407 clip for the 2016 Tulsa Drillers and only .140/.213/.233 in the Arizona Fall League for the Glendale Desert Dogs. He then made the Mexican national team for the 2017 World Baseball Classic, going 5 for 14 with three runs. On a high-scoring Mexican team (that also allowed lots of runs, leaving them last in their pool), he was only fourth among the starters in average and tied for third in runs. [4] He was a member of the World team in the 2017 Futures Game and had a great season for the AAA Oklahoma City Dodgers, hitting .314/.389/.436 in 117 games. He was called up to Los Angeles on September 1, 2017 and made his major league debut that day. He played 15 games but hit just .174, with a home run accounting for his lone RBI.

He began the 2018 season in AAA but was added to the roster on April 28th between the two games of a doubleheader, after a couple of outfielders, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig had suffered minor injuries. He went 2 for 3 with a walk while starting in right field in the nitecap as the Dodgers lost 8-3 to the San Francisco Giants. In all, he played 37 games in the big leagues that season, hitting .260 with 1 homer and 4 RBIs. In 2019, he finally had a chance at some extended playing time at the major league level, taking advantage of an injury to CF A.J. Pollock. He played 106 games and hit .294 in 343 at-bats, with 22 doubles and 12 homers, scoring 43 runs and driving in 44. On June 22nd, he was part of a historic streak in which three different rookies - LF Matt Beaty, Verdugo, and C Will Smith each hit a walk-off homer in three consecutive games against the Colorado Rockies; Verdugo's effort came in the second of the three games, against Jesus Tinoco. His OPS+ was an excellent 114. However, he was not used when the postseason came around, as Pollock's return made for a numbers crunch in the outfield. On February 4, 2020, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox alongside P Kenta Maeda in the blockbuster deal that brought OF Mookie Betts and P David Price to the Dodgers. While Boston did not keep Maeda around for long, as they were looking to cut payroll, it was a different story for Verdugo, who was seen as the key to the deal and the one to replace the great Mookie in right field at Fenway Park.

"MLB had never seen back-to-back rookie walk-off home runs until Saturday, and now the Dodgers have three." - Ken Gurnick, writing for MLB.com, June 23, 2019, about the first time that rookies, of which Verdugo was one, did back-to-back-to-back walk-off home runs

References[edit]

  1. 2015 Baseball Almanac, pg. 508
  2. 2015 Baseball Almanac, pg. 394-395
  3. 2016 Baseball Almanac, pg. 365
  4. World Baseball Classic

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