After being considered one of the top prospects in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization for the last few years, Alex Verdugo has finally gotten the chance to prove himself as a big leaguer this season.
He began the year as an option off the bench for Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, but after A.J. Pollock required elbow surgery, Verdugo assumed more of an everyday role and took full advantage of the opportunity.
His season has included multiple highlights, including delivering a walk-off win for the Dodgers and several outfield assists behind accurate throws.
Verdugo garnered praise from Roberts and teammates throughout the season, and another who recently joined the chorus was president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.
He complimented Verdugo for not only his impact but overall approach and knack for having the right feel, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“Coming up through the Minor Leagues, the thing that always stood out to me was his instincts for the game. You look at a guy with that kind of personality, the lazy analysis is, it’s more show than substance, and more flash. But his instincts for the game, what kind of baseball player he is, has always stood out. He’s certainly not lacking for confidence, which is a good thing. He has handled the role to start the year incredibly well.”
In 106 games this season, Verdugo is batting .294/.342/.475 with 22 doubles, 12 home runs and 44 RBI. He has also played all three outfield positions defensively at a high level, earning three outfield assists and six defensive runs saved.
Seemingly the only downside to the 2019 campaign is a strained oblique/back soreness that has sidelined Verdugo since Aug. 6. He recently resumed baseball activities and was tracking for a return in September before suffering a setback.
The Dodgers initially maintained there was time for Verdugo to overcome his back trouble and return this season, but Roberts has since essentially ruled out the possibility. Roberts additionally does not anticipate Verdugo being available to be added to the active roster for the National League Division Series, which begins Oct. 3.