Alex Verdugo - on-field discussion thread

JimD

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 29, 2001
7,044
Thought it would be beneficial to start a new thread to discuss the on-field aspects of our new outfielder Alex Verdugo, since the other thread is basically a discussion of off-field concerns.

One of my first thoughts about Verdugo as a member of the Red Sox regards the common assumption that he will take over in right field. The scouting information on Verdugo that has been shared by Boston sports media writers since the trade has been generally focused on his offensive capabilities, although Pete Abe’s writeup did include this:

“He can play all three spots in the outfield. I saw him a lot in center and he’s got the arm to play right field. He has the range to play right field at Fenway Park. I’m not saying he can replace Mookie Betts in right field; nobody can do that. But he’s more than capable defensively. He’s an average to above-average right fielder.
Verdugo has started only 20 games in right in his major league career so far, although he did start another 68 games in RF at AAA Oklahoma City. Obviously, it will be a work in progress as he learns to play the angles in Fenway’s right field, but he does seem to have the range and the arm to make it work if he commits himself to it. Curious what others are thinking about this.
 

Savin Hillbilly

loves the secret sauce
SoSH Member
Jul 10, 2007
18,729
The wrong side of the bridge....
I think the default assumption for 2020 has to be that he slots into right field and the other two stay where they've been. If JBJ is gone next year (which seems likely but by no means certain), then the Sox will have two OFs in their mid-20s who are both capable of playing at least fringey CF, so they could just go for the best available OF regardless of position, and then decide who plays where.
 

Rough Carrigan

reasons within Reason
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
He hits and throws lefty. His splits in 2019 were even better against lefties: .327/.358/.485
than they were against righties: .281/.336/.471

Good to see that both average and power were as good or better against lefties.
 

fiskfan75

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 14, 2006
33
FWIW...I was talking to a relative of a front office ee of the BJ's. He said Toronto was very high on verdugo and in previous discussions with the Dodgers was told he was off the table. Thinks we will not be disappointed in his on the field play.
 

Patek's 3 Dingers

Luddite
Silver Supporter
Jul 5, 2018
322
Thought it would be beneficial to start a new thread to discuss the on-field aspects of our new outfielder Alex Verdugo, since the other thread is basically a discussion of off-field concerns.

One of my first thoughts about Verdugo as a member of the Red Sox regards the common assumption that he will take over in right field. The scouting information on Verdugo that has been shared by Boston sports media writers since the trade has been generally focused on his offensive capabilities, although Pete Abe’s writeup did include this:



Verdugo has started only 20 games in right in his major league career so far, although he did start another 68 games in RF at AAA Oklahoma City. Obviously, it will be a work in progress as he learns to play the angles in Fenway’s right field, but he does seem to have the range and the arm to make it work if he commits himself to it. Curious what others are thinking about this.
I always see comments about the angles in RF, but the only situation I'm aware of is how a ball will scoot along the base of the fence on one hit down the line. I'm out in California so I don't see nearly as many games as you guys do, but I've rarely seen that happen. It also doesn't seem that difficult to run to a spot maybe at maybe 45 degree angle from the foul pole. I would think LF in Fenway would be far more difficult.
 

tonyandpals

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Mar 18, 2004
6,494
Burlington
I always see comments about the angles in RF, but the only situation I'm aware of is how a ball will scoot along the base of the fence on one hit down the line. I'm out in California so I don't see nearly as many games as you guys do, but I've rarely seen that happen. It also doesn't seem that difficult to run to a spot maybe at maybe 45 degree angle from the foul pole. I would think LF in Fenway would be far more difficult.
I think it's more about the amount of ground he'll have to cover out there.
 

cornwalls@6

Less observant than others
SoSH Member
Apr 23, 2010
1,278
from the wilds of western ma
I’m interested in what his power ceiling is. Have read some of the reports on him, but curious what folks here think. Right field in Fenway certainly can curtail numbers for a strong pull hitter. Do we think he’s a 10-20 HR guy, or does he have growth potential to be more in the 20-30 range, assuming health and with full seasons of plate appearances. The AB comps I’ve read tend to make me lean towards the lower range, but hoping he can grow into decent power.
 
Last edited:

Was (Not Wasdin)

family crest has godzilla
SoSH Member
Jul 26, 2007
2,101
The Short Bus
I assume he's been penciled in as a full time OF (whether CF or RF) but given his back, inexperience in AL outfields, etc., are the Sox likely to add a 4th outfielder, or will we see more JD out there? Seems really thin with just 10D, JBJ and Verdugo as the only three guys with significant outfield time.
 

burstnbloom

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 12, 2005
1,816
He hits and throws lefty. His splits in 2019 were even better against lefties: .327/.358/.485
than they were against righties: .281/.336/.471

Good to see that both average and power were as good or better against lefties.
It's really interesting to see this split. I wonder if there is anything real to it. That ISO against righties is really encouraging. One of the exciting things about Verdugo is that there is a lot of room for improvement in his swing path. He hits the ball pretty hard, in general, but almost half the time its on the ground. If Tim Hyers can help him tinker with his swing to get a bit more loft the way he did with Xander, we could really have something here.
 

brandonchristensen

mad photochops
SoSH Member
Feb 4, 2012
25,674
What's his back looking like right now? Is he expected to play right off the top of the year? I've heard he has a balky back, and there was a lot of fear about it - but haven't read anything about how he is currently feeling.
 

pokey_reese

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 25, 2008
13,687
Eugene, OR
I’m interested in what his power ceiling is. Have read some of the reports on him, but curious what folks here think. Right field in Fenway certainly can curtail numbers for a strong pull hitter. Do we think he’s a 10-20 HR guy, or does have growth potential to be more in the 20-30 range, assuming health and with full seasons of plate appearances. The AB comps I’ve read tend to make me lean towards the lower range, but hoping he grow into decent power.
My reading on him this week suggests that he hits the ball hard enough, but that his batted ball profile is contact-oriented with a low launch angle, so unless he reinvents himself completely as a hitter he is more of a doubles guy than a HR threat.
 

Savin Hillbilly

loves the secret sauce
SoSH Member
Jul 10, 2007
18,729
The wrong side of the bridge....
I’m interested in what his power ceiling is. Have read some of the reports on him, but curious what folks here think. Right field in Fenway certainly can curtail numbers for a strong pull hitter.
Fortunately, he's not a strong pull hitter, at least not when he hits it in the air. In fact, out of 259 hitters with at least 30 hard-hit fly balls last year, Verdugo had the 17th lowest percentage of pulled balls.
 

Green Monster

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 29, 2000
2,134
CT
Doesn't appear to be a huge power hitter but I am curious if he is the type of left hand batter that will pepper Fenway's left-field wall similar to Wade Boggs. Could be solid player!
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
11,607
Maine
I assume he's been penciled in as a full time OF (whether CF or RF) but given his back, inexperience in AL outfields, etc., are the Sox likely to add a 4th outfielder, or will we see more JD out there? Seems really thin with just 10D, JBJ and Verdugo as the only three guys with significant outfield time.
I really hope they're looking for another outfielder regardless of health concerns (either Verdugo or JD) for one simple reason...the presumed starters are all LHH. They're going to need a RHH outfielder. I don't think Chavis, Peraza, and Marcus Wilson really cuts it as RHH outfield depth.
 
Jan 31, 2020
69
I think his bat plays well in Fenway. Really good defense in RF and has an absolute cannon. I like him. Not sure he's ever going to be a 25-30 homer guy but 20 is certainly not out of the question.
 

Was (Not Wasdin)

family crest has godzilla
SoSH Member
Jul 26, 2007
2,101
The Short Bus
I really hope they're looking for another outfielder regardless of health concerns (either Verdugo or JD) for one simple reason...the presumed starters are all LHH. They're going to need a RHH outfielder. I don't think Chavis, Peraza, and Marcus Wilson really cuts it as RHH outfield depth.
Good point, I completely glossed over that. I was thinking more for late inning defensive substitutions, pinch hitting, etc., but the lack of a RHH makes it even more pressing.
 

JimBoSox9

will you be my friend?
SoSH Member
Nov 1, 2005
16,591
Mid-surburbia
Doesn't appear to be a huge power hitter but I am curious if he is the type of left hand batter that will pepper Fenway's left-field wall similar to Wade Boggs. Could be solid player!
MLBN had a whole video package showing his oppo approach, he definitely has the JD style of taking center-cut fastballs to left-center as his standard timing. As long as he doesn't forget about pulling entirely at Fenway, he should profile well at home.

Edit: fixed left/right.
 
Last edited:

Green Monster

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 29, 2000
2,134
CT
MLBN had a whole video package showing his oppo approach, he definitely has the JD style of taking center-cut fastballs to right-center as his standard timing. As long as he doesn't forget about pulling entirely at Fenway, he should profile well at home.
Isn't he a left-handed batter?
 

TFisNEXT

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 21, 2005
10,978
Here is Verdugo's spray chart with both stadiums...I think this would play very well for him:

28457
 

TFisNEXT

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 21, 2005
10,978
In addition to all the good stuff, we must prepare ourselves for a lot of GIDPs, unless I read that chart incorrectly.
The chart isn't a great color code...the force outs and GIDPs are very similar looking....same with singles and sac flys. But the fly balls to left were the main feature of the comparison.
 

moondog80

heart is two sizes two small
SoSH Member
Sep 20, 2005
5,357
In addition to all the good stuff, we must prepare ourselves for a lot of GIDPs, unless I read that chart incorrectly.
I should know this, but given two ground balls hit exactly the same speed/distance/angle form the bag, only one is to 2B side and one is to SS, which is more likely to end up in a DP? Hit to 2B means the fielder has to turn a bit to make the throw, which takes longer, but also can lead to the fielder just tagging the runner in front of them.
 

chrisfont9

Member
SoSH Member
Doesn't appear to be a huge power hitter but I am curious if he is the type of left hand batter that will pepper Fenway's left-field wall similar to Wade Boggs. Could be solid player!
I see that the spray chart is now posted here. It'll be interesting if he deliberately tries to go to left more in Fenway. It should help him as long as it doesn't take him out of his good habits.
 

leftfieldlegacy

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2005
699
North Jersey
I see that the spray chart is now posted here. It'll be interesting if he deliberately tries to go to left more in Fenway. It should help him as long as it doesn't take him out of his good habits.
Based on the spray chart, it seems like he goes to left naturally. I don't think he would need to change anything about his approach to be successful at Fenway. Check out Savin Hillbilly's post above. He is not a pull hitter.
 

reggiecleveland

sublime
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2004
20,993
Saskatoon Canada
I should know this, but given two ground balls hit exactly the same speed/distance/angle form the bag, only one is to 2B side and one is to SS, which is more likely to end up in a DP? Hit to 2B means the fielder has to turn a bit to make the throw, which takes longer, but also can lead to the fielder just tagging the runner in front of them.
I expect it doesn't matter much these days with scouting, fileder positioning. At one time lefty hitting to 2b was easier since ss was closer to the bag and took the throw coming towards 1b, but nowadays fielders are playing where the guy most likley hits it.
 

nvalvo

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
16,953
Rogers Park
I’m interested in what his power ceiling is. Have read some of the reports on him, but curious what folks here think. Right field in Fenway certainly can curtail numbers for a strong pull hitter. Do we think he’s a 10-20 HR guy, or does have growth potential to be more in the 20-30 range, assuming health and with full seasons of plate appearances. The AB comps I’ve read tend to make me lean towards the lower range, but hoping he grow into decent power.
He already has a HR to right in Fenway.

View: https://youtu.be/_0nerosFn-Q
 

nvalvo

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
16,953
Rogers Park
Baseball Savant has as one of his most similar LHH by contact profile Michael Brantley, and I thought that was a good comp. Brantley has great plate coverage and controls the strike zone, but has a swing that generates more of a line drive profile.

Ideally, Verdugo will enjoy better health.
 

Savin Hillbilly

loves the secret sauce
SoSH Member
Jul 10, 2007
18,729
The wrong side of the bridge....
Baseball Savant has as one of his most similar LHH by contact profile Michael Brantley, and I thought that was a good comp. Brantley has great plate coverage and controls the strike zone, but has a swing that generates more of a line drive profile.
Just a tidbit, and SSS and all, but Brantley has a .934 career OPS at Fenway in 125 PA, with a .396 BABIP and 14 doubles, which would translate to 67 doubles in 600 PA. So if Verdugo is really a very similar hitter, that's promising as far as it goes.
 

nvalvo

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
16,953
Rogers Park
Just a tidbit, and SSS and all, but Brantley has a .934 career OPS at Fenway in 125 PA, with a .396 BABIP and 14 doubles, which would translate to 67 doubles in 600 PA. So if Verdugo is really a very similar hitter, that's promising as far as it goes.
I think we all know that players with line drive-type swings can succeed in Fenway.

Just visually, I was thinking his stance reminded me of Bill Mueller — fairly closed, very upright — but I checked, and Mueller held his hands a lot higher. I think there might be something to that, though.
 
Aug 11, 2019
387
Just a tidbit, and SSS and all, but Brantley has a .934 career OPS at Fenway in 125 PA, with a .396 BABIP and 14 doubles, which would translate to 67 doubles in 600 PA. So if Verdugo is really a very similar hitter, that's promising as far as it goes.
All Brantley would have to do is figure out is how to face Red Sox pitching during those 125 PA.
 

JCizzle

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 11, 2006
10,593
And the team has no idea when he'll be ready to play because of his back.
This is all a bad joke. They traded Mookie for a package built around a guy who has dealt with a bad back for seven months and they won't know more until their medical people look at him? Thank goodness hitters don't perform any type of repetitive activity in baseball that can aggravate that type of issue. This isn't Tampa. They can't miss on this trade if they're going to make it.
 

DeweyWins

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 24, 2012
56
Huntsville, AL
FWIW...I was talking to a relative of a front office ee of the BJ's. He said Toronto was very high on verdugo and in previous discussions with the Dodgers was told he was off the table. Thinks we will not be disappointed in his on the field play.
I'd bet he was off the table because Friedman had his eyes on Betts, not for any other reason.

My reading on him this week suggests that he hits the ball hard enough, but that his batted ball profile is contact-oriented with a low launch angle, so unless he reinvents himself completely as a hitter he is more of a doubles guy than a HR threat.
Also called Sam Travis.

Doesn't appear to be a huge power hitter but I am curious if he is the type of left hand batter that will pepper Fenway's left-field wall similar to Wade Boggs. Could be solid player!
Also called Mike Greenwell.

I really hope they're looking for another outfielder regardless of health concerns (either Verdugo or JD) for one simple reason...the presumed starters are all LHH. They're going to need a RHH outfielder. I don't think Chavis, Peraza, and Marcus Wilson really cuts it as RHH outfield depth.
Also called Kevin Pillar. Maybe Rusney Castillo if the season has obviously gone south until 2021.
 

InsideTheParker

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
26,948
Pioneer Valley
This is all a bad joke. They traded Mookie for a package built around a guy who has dealt with a bad back for seven months and they won't know more until their medical people look at him? Thank goodness hitters don't perform any type of repetitive activity in baseball that can aggravate that type of issue. This isn't Tampa. They can't miss on this trade if they're going to make it.
Does this explain the Pillar signing?
 

24redsox

lurker
Nov 18, 2013
20
Is anyone besides me beginning to wonder if Bloom was the correct hiring? It looks like he traded for damaged goods.
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
39,604
Is anyone besides me beginning to wonder if Bloom was the correct hiring? It looks like he traded for damaged goods.
No. Just you.

I mean, the article does say it's possible he'll be ready by opening day and this was known during negotiations. The SPECIFIC timetable is what they're working on now. It's not like the guy was shot in the spine.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
23,297
Hingham, MA
And the team has no idea when he'll be ready to play because of his back.
Holy Hyperbole Batman! You make it seem as though the Sox docs have checked him out and they have "no idea" when he will play.

Actual excerpts from the article:

Verdugo’s availability for Opening Day is in question

The issue was known during negotiations

The Red Sox did not view the issue as a significant long-term concern

They will wait to make a more precise evaluation of his timetable once he can be seen by their medical staff

It remains possible that the 23-year-old outfielder will be ready to start the season. That said, the Red Sox are prepared to take a conservative approach, believing that a small number of games missed early in the year is better than a substantial stretch on the sideline if he is rushed into the lineup
 

Plympton91

bubble burster
SoSH Member
Oct 19, 2008
12,391
“If it we the regular season, he’d be playing”

“If it were the stretch run, he’d be playing”

This situation is why I haven’t opined on whether this was a good or bad trade yet. The final score on the trade can’t be written until the primary piece proves he’s healthy. If the Red Sox doctors and Bloom were wrong about this it’s a flat out disaster.

I don’t know how you look at a guy who has had 7 months to heal, still isnt right, and you DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT’S WRONG, and take him as the centerpiece of a deal for Mookie Betts and a highly subsidized David Price.

This is the Chris Sale contract all over again. Why do this when you didn’t have to?
 

high cheese

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2001
115
If Mookie’s back was in that condition it would have cost the Red Sox even more in prospect quality or more $ for Price.

Instead the Dodgers get Mookie plus a chunk of $ for Price for a guy with a bad back as the centerpiece of the deal...
 

pokey_reese

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 25, 2008
13,687
Eugene, OR
Part of the issue is that the years of control thing is still being underestimated by a lot of people. Even if Verdugo missed the entire season, we would still get more excess value out of his remaining years of control than we would from a single season of arb-eligible Mookie. Look , I love Mookie too, I have his baseball card propped up on my office keyboard as a reminder every day, but Verdugo isn't a FA until 2025, and projects to be an above-average regular. This team needs players like that if they are going to try and be competitive while not getting pummeled by the luxury tax.
 

Mugsy's Jock

Eli apologist
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 28, 2000
11,333
Bi-Coastal, for the time being
If Mookie’s back was in that condition it would have cost the Red Sox even more in prospect quality or more $ for Price.

Instead the Dodgers get Mookie plus a chunk of $ for Price for a guy with a bad back as the centerpiece of the deal...
This is disingenuous. The "chunk of $ they get for Price" is worth way less than the "chunk of $" they're now obligated to pay Price. Price's trade, including the discount, was an asset going to Boston, not Los Angeles.
 

normstalls

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 15, 2004
3,366
Part of the issue is that the years of control thing is still being underestimated by a lot of people. Even if Verdugo missed the entire season, we would still get more excess value out of his remaining years of control than we would from a single season of arb-eligible Mookie. Look , I love Mookie too, I have his baseball card propped up on my office keyboard as a reminder every day, but Verdugo isn't a FA until 2025, and projects to be an above-average regular. This team needs players like that if they are going to try and be competitive while not getting pummeled by the luxury tax.
Thank you for your level-headed, reasoned opinion . It seems we need more of that around here lately. I had a question related to service time. Hypothetically, though hopefully very unlikely, if Verdugo were to miss the entire season how does that effect his service time? Does that push everything back one year or is it essentially a 'wasted' year of control?