A Look At New Red Sox OF Alex Verdugo

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The Red Sox finally ended the Mookie Betts saga and traded the outfielder to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.  One of the key players that was centered around the Betts trade was former Dodgers prospect and outfielder Alex Verdugo.

Photo courtesy of dodgerblue.com
The Dodgers selected Verdugo, 23, in the second round of the 2014 Major League Baseball draft.  Verdugo would forgo going to play baseball at Arizona State University and sign with the Dodgers.

Verdugo was promoted to the majors for the first time in his career on September 1, 2017.  He would get the start in centerfield against the Padres and went 0-3 in his first game.

Verdugo is a top talent, and it’s no wonder why Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom would be looking for him in a Betts package.  He hit .294 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI in only 106 games for the Dodgers last year.

Defensively, Verdugo is a beast in the outfield.  He was arguably the Dodgers best outfielder last season, and if the Red Sox don’t wind up trading Jackie Bradley Jr. those two could make a formidable duo at Fenway.

Verdugo saw his 2019 season slow down due to a stint on the IL with an oblique strain and then missed time with lower back tightness.  When healthy, Verdugo shows flashes he can be an impact player.

Shop for Boston Red Sox fan gear from Nike, Majestic and New Era at Shop.MLB.comBut is Verdugo a franchise player?

Well, he’s not Mookie Betts.  I know fans are going to be expecting Verdugo to be the next Betts, but everyone needs to let him be himself.  Verdugo’s name has come up as a potential main piece in a trade for impact players in the past.  The question marks around Verdugo isn’t so much health, but more so his makeup.

His MLB.com profile says this about Verdugo, "One of the best pure hitting prospects in baseball, Verdugo recognizes pitches and controls the strike zone better than most players his age.  He uses the whole field, repeatedly barreling balls with a quick left-handed stroke geared for line drives.”

His profile goes on to add, "As good as he is in the batter's box, Verdugo's best tool actually is his plus-plus arm.  Despite average speed, he has spent much of his pro career in center field, where his instincts help him get the job done.  Scouts are split on whether he can handle center on a daily basis in the Majors, but no one doubts that his arm would play in right."

Former Dodgers catcher Russell Martin is a close friend to Verdugo from his time with the team.  In an article in The Athletic, Martin talked about Verdugo and said, “he brings energy to the team, so you just want to make sure that energy is a positive influence.”  Martin would go on to add, “you want to make sure that he is dispersing good energy throughout the clubhouse.  He is still young, he still has room to grow.  I just want him to end up being not only a good player but a good teammate at the same time.”

Dodgers starting pitcher Ross Stripling commented last season that he was talking to his parents after one of his starts, his parents asked Stripling about Verdugo.  “Has Verdugo replaced Puig in the locker room? they asked.  “In a way, but different” said Stripling.  Not that Puig wasn’t happy, but this is a different kind of energy.”

“I just wanted to let them know, like, ‘I understand I do things different,'” Verdugo said.  “I’m a little bit louder than most.  I show my emotions a little bit more.  But it’s all genuine, and it all comes from a good place” added Verdugo.

“I show my emotions, and I feel like a lot of players should.  It just shows that you care” Verdugo would add.

Verdugo will be around a good core of players in Boston like Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers.

Red Sox fans will end up embracing Verdugo, while teams have had reservations on him.  His personality is fun and will fit in with Boston.  Verdugo will bring a unique energy to the clubhouse, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing for the Red Sox coming off a disappointing season and now the loss of manager Alex Cora.

The Betts trade will be judged forever by Red Sox fans and media alike.  Verdugo will bring a swagger to Boston which you can see for yourself from his personal Instagram - look for ‘dugie11’. We need to be fair to Verdugo and understand he is not Betts.  Let Verdugo make his own way in Boston and enjoy the new look Red Sox. 

P.S. Verdugo's middle name is Brady. 

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Boston Sports Syndicate: A Look At New Red Sox OF Alex Verdugo
A Look At New Red Sox OF Alex Verdugo
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