Alex Verdugo - on-field discussion thread

joe dokes

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I know I'm getting old and cranky when I cannot bring myself to like this guy solely due to the facial hair and that stupid hat he's wearing. And I still can't get past the sexual assault/filming incident he took part in while in the minors.

All that being said, he's certainly surprised me by how well he plays the game, and how enthusiastic he is.
Over at Sons of Kubler-Ross, they say that the next stage is "so old that you dont give a shit about that stuff because there's a good chance they're assholes." I'll keep the light on for ya.
 

SouthernBoSox

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I know I'm getting old and cranky when I cannot bring myself to like this guy solely due to the facial hair and that stupid hat he's wearing. And I still can't get past the sexual assault/filming incident he took part in while in the minors.

All that being said, he's certainly surprised me by how well he plays the game, and how enthusiastic he is.
You mean the one where we have absolutely no idea what happened other than Verdugo certainly not committing assault and being cleared of any crimes?
 

Spud

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I'm at the light and moving on to "I'm so old I can wear what I want, eat what I want, do what I want, and if you start pestering me it's only going to get worse."
 

chawson

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He actually seems to me like the version of Benintendi that we were expecting Benintendi to become by this season. He's not (nobody is) Mookie level replacement.
I'm expecting him to put up a season line of around a .875-.900 OPS and 20 HR's. He's fun to watch despite the fucking horrifying facial hair.
I also like this framing. Verdugo seems so much more adept at directing the ball where he wants it to go, pulling the ball on the road and slicing it the other way at Fenway. I think the upside is a Michael Brantley-type player with maybe a bit more makeup volatility, but the fact that he doesn’t have Benny’s vulnerability to lefties is huge.
 

effectivelywild

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brandonchristensen

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Yeah I've liked him ever since his press conference coming to the team and what he said about replacing Mookie.

Great ballplayer.
 

grimshaw

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SSS alert!
Since the start of 2020:

Betts 4.2 bWAR at 25mill AAV
Verdugo 3.1 bWAR at $675k

Cheap production is wonderful.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I continue to be a big fan of Verdugo and enjoy these comparisons immensely.
Does the cost of bWAR (and other similar stats) escalate the higher up the stat rate climbs? As in... if the value of 3 bWAR is (just to keep it clean and clear) hypothetically $1M per then $3M or would it start to increase at a certain point over 1 bWAR? (or other stat...).
1 = $1M
2 = $2.5M
3 = $6 M
4 = $10 M
????
 

YTF

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From the very first time that he addressed the Boston media until now, I don't think we could have asked more of Verdugo. He's delivered in many ways during his short time here. While I haven't recently had the chance to watch as many games as I would have liked to, he seems to have a presence in just about every game that he appears in. Some timely hitting, solid defense, he seems to mesh very well with his teammates and he's been a pleasure to watch. It remains to be seen how his future plays out, but watching this young guy assume his role on this team in the manner in which he has done so reminds me of how fun it was to watch Mookie Betts become Mookie Betts.
 

jmcc5400

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From the very first time that he addressed the Boston media until now, I don't think we could have asked more of Verdugo. He's delivered in many ways during his short time here. While I haven't recently had the chance to watch as many games as I would have liked to, he seems to have a presence in just about every game that he appears in. Some timely hitting, solid defense, he seems to mesh very well with his teammates and he's been a pleasure to watch. It remains to be seen how his future plays out, but watching this young guy assume his role on this team in the manner in which he has done so reminds me of how fun it was to watch Mookie Betts become Mookie Betts.
He reminds me of Pedroia. A motormouth in the dugout, but obviously very positive and very well liked. Always 100% effort on the field. Always dirty. I'm a fan.
 

BaseballJones

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He's a very good baseball player. He will never be as good as Mookie, but that's why Mookie is making more money than some nations' GDP (exaggeration, obviously). But in terms of what they got for a replacement, he's been pretty pretty good. And obviously WAY cheaper, which allows them to use that money elsewhere.

Hate doing this but...

2020-21
Verdugo: .313/.368/.495/.862, 133 ops+, 3.1 bWAR, currently making $700 thousand
Betts: .283/.367/.528/.894, 143 ops+, 4.2 bWAR, currently making $23 million (about 33x what Verdugo makes)
 

Cesar Crespo

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He's a very good baseball player. He will never be as good as Mookie, but that's why Mookie is making more money than some nations' GDP (exaggeration, obviously). But in terms of what they got for a replacement, he's been pretty pretty good. And obviously WAY cheaper, which allows them to use that money elsewhere.

Hate doing this but...

2020-21
Verdugo: .313/.368/.495/.862, 133 ops+, 3.1 bWAR, currently making $700 thousand
Betts: .283/.367/.528/.894, 143 ops+, 4.2 bWAR, currently making $23 million (about 33x what Verdugo makes)

Add the other players into the mix and the Sox made out pretty well. I'm sure the Dodgers are plenty happy too.
 

Niastri

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He's a very good baseball player. He will never be as good as Mookie, but that's why Mookie is making more money than some nations' GDP (exaggeration, obviously). But in terms of what they got for a replacement, he's been pretty pretty good. And obviously WAY cheaper, which allows them to use that money elsewhere.

Hate doing this but...

2020-21
Verdugo: .313/.368/.495/.862, 133 ops+, 3.1 bWAR, currently making $700 thousand
Betts: .283/.367/.528/.894, 143 ops+, 4.2 bWAR, currently making $23 million (about 33x what Verdugo makes)

6 countries have less than $365 million GDP.
 

nvalvo

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Yes, usually the top end of WAR increases exponentially in cost as the talent pyramid gets smaller.
I don't think this is true. It *should* work that way in theory, given roster constraints, but it has not worked that way historically. If anything, $/WAR gets cheaper at the high end.

The overall FA $/WAR is somewhere around $8m, if Fangraphs is to believed.

Mike Trout's AAV is $36m, which projects him to be worth an average of 4.5 WAR per year. I'll, uhh, take the over.

I think the uninsurably-large downside risks of these huge contracts just put a pretty hard cap on how big they can get, and this means that Trout and Betts and Tatis get comparable deals to merely excellent players like Machado. Machado's best season by fWAR is 6.6 — a great season! Trout's only seasons lower than 7 fWAR were a 114 game season and the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Machado is on a 10/$300 deal ($30m AAV); he's 28, and he has 36.3 career fWAR. Trout is on a 12/$426m deal ($36m AAV); he's 29, and he has 77.5 career fWAR. Those are different deals, but that's not a difference that reflects the wide discrepancy in their track records.
 

The Raccoon

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6 countries have less than $365 million GDP.
But Mookie isn't getting $365 million a year, so he isn't more "productive" than those island states in the pacific ocean.
If we are comparing Mike Trout and Tuvalu, we are getting really close though...
 

scottyno

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I don't think this is true. It *should* work that way in theory, given roster constraints, but it has not worked that way historically. If anything, $/WAR gets cheaper at the high end.

The overall FA $/WAR is somewhere around $8m, if Fangraphs is to believed.

Mike Trout's AAV is $36m, which projects him to be worth an average of 4.5 WAR per year. I'll, uhh, take the over.

I think the uninsurably-large downside risks of these huge contracts just put a pretty hard cap on how big they can get, and this means that Trout and Betts and Tatis get comparable deals to merely excellent players like Machado. Machado's best season by fWAR is 6.6 — a great season! Trout's only seasons lower than 7 fWAR were a 114 game season and the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Machado is on a 10/$300 deal ($30m AAV); he's 28, and he has 36.3 career fWAR. Trout is on a 12/$426m deal ($36m AAV); he's 29, and he has 77.5 career fWAR. Those are different deals, but that's not a difference that reflects the wide discrepancy in their track records.
Also how long they are means you can't be paying "fair" value up front because of the expected back ends. Sure Trout is a lock to be over 4.5 now, and probably for awhile, but he has 9 more years after this and we've seen how quickly some of those deals can turn to terrible. It's not impossible Trout averages under 4.5 war for the next 9 years.

If Trout or Betts or any other superstars were willing to pull a Bauer they might get something like 1-60 or 2-100.
 

nvalvo

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Also how long they are means you can't be paying "fair" value up front because of the expected back ends. Sure Trout is a lock to be over 4.5 now, and probably for awhile, but he has 9 more years after this and we've seen how quickly some of those deals can turn to terrible. It's not impossible Trout averages under 4.5 war for the next 9 years.

If Trout or Betts or any other superstars were willing to pull a Bauer they might get something like 1-60 or 2-100.
I totally agree. That's what I mean by "uninsurably-large downside risk."

My point is that a 50% projection for Trout's next decade would be wildly better than the same projection for Machado, and yet the deals aren't far apart.
 

mauf

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I don't think this is true. It *should* work that way in theory, given roster constraints, but it has not worked that way historically. If anything, $/WAR gets cheaper at the high end.

The overall FA $/WAR is somewhere around $8m, if Fangraphs is to believed.

Mike Trout's AAV is $36m, which projects him to be worth an average of 4.5 WAR per year. I'll, uhh, take the over.

I think the uninsurably-large downside risks of these huge contracts just put a pretty hard cap on how big they can get, and this means that Trout and Betts and Tatis get comparable deals to merely excellent players like Machado. Machado's best season by fWAR is 6.6 — a great season! Trout's only seasons lower than 7 fWAR were a 114 game season and the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Machado is on a 10/$300 deal ($30m AAV); he's 28, and he has 36.3 career fWAR. Trout is on a 12/$426m deal ($36m AAV); he's 29, and he has 77.5 career fWAR. Those are different deals, but that's not a difference that reflects the wide discrepancy in their track records.
This is an excellent post.

One quibble: Machado is the only one of the guys mentioned in your post who actually hit the market. If he signs a year or two ahead of his free agency like Mookie and Trout did, the gap in dollars would be larger — not as large as it ought to be, for the reasons you state, but not as laughably small as it is now.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I don't think this is true. It *should* work that way in theory, given roster constraints, but it has not worked that way historically. If anything, $/WAR gets cheaper at the high end.

The overall FA $/WAR is somewhere around $8m, if Fangraphs is to believed.

Mike Trout's AAV is $36m, which projects him to be worth an average of 4.5 WAR per year. I'll, uhh, take the over.

I think the uninsurably-large downside risks of these huge contracts just put a pretty hard cap on how big they can get, and this means that Trout and Betts and Tatis get comparable deals to merely excellent players like Machado. Machado's best season by fWAR is 6.6 — a great season! Trout's only seasons lower than 7 fWAR were a 114 game season and the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Machado is on a 10/$300 deal ($30m AAV); he's 28, and he has 36.3 career fWAR. Trout is on a 12/$426m deal ($36m AAV); he's 29, and he has 77.5 career fWAR. Those are different deals, but that's not a difference that reflects the wide discrepancy in their track records.
This is a great reply and I learned something. Thank you.
 

nvalvo

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This is an excellent post.

One quibble: Machado is the only one of the guys mentioned in your post who actually hit the market. If he signs a year or two ahead of his free agency like Mookie and Trout did, the gap in dollars would be larger — not as large as it ought to be, for the reasons you state, but not as laughably small as it is now.
Thanks, and I think you're right about your quibble, but still: Trout has double Machado's career fWAR.

If my theory is right — that there is a linear $/WAR slope all the way up to the outliers at the high end, where it trails off sharply because of some other constraint, it could be that that is an explanation of *why* players with projections like Trout and Betts and Tatis did not reach FA. If Trout and his agent think that the deal he's being offered as an extension is basically the biggest deal an MLB franchise can offer, why take the risk? In other words, if he doesn't believe that he'll actually get much more money in FA because a team can't actually offer him more money, then pushing through to FA is not a great risk/reward tradeoff.

Same deal with Betts. Boston offers him $300m. Pretty great, but he and his agent suspect that there might be more out there — perhaps $400m — from, probably, the Dodgers or Giants or Mets or Cubs or Nationals. They want to go to FA. Then he gets to LA, and finds out what LA can offer him... and at that point, well — there's a pandemic, etc. — how much more is he really going to get than 12/$365m — 13/$385m including 2020 — by taking the risk of playing another (super weird, pandemic-influenced) season? If he's looking at 13/$385m, but believes that the most he could realistically get in FA would be $400m... well, you begin to see why he signed. He'd already gotten most of what he asked for.

If you did the math the same way you did for Machado, you'd project Betts to produce something like 60 WAR over the next 13 seasons and get close to a $500m deal. But clearly Betts doesn't believe he can actually get such a deal. So it might be that guys like Betts and Trout need less from the market's price discovery mechanism because their price has already been discovered, and it's "as much as an MLB franchise can afford to pay a single player under the sport's current economic/CBA constraints, give or take a few million." The constraint is no longer their projections.
 

shaggydog2000

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Thanks, and I think you're right about your quibble, but still: Trout has double Machado's career fWAR.

If my theory is right — that there is a linear $/WAR slope all the way up to the outliers at the high end, where it trails off sharply because of some other constraint, it could be that that is an explanation of *why* players with projections like Trout and Betts and Tatis did not reach FA. If Trout and his agent think that the deal he's being offered as an extension is basically the biggest deal an MLB franchise can offer, why take the risk? In other words, if he doesn't believe that he'll actually get much more money in FA because a team can't actually offer him more money, then pushing through to FA is not a great risk/reward tradeoff.

Same deal with Betts. Boston offers him $300m. Pretty great, but he and his agent suspect that there might be more out there — perhaps $400m — from, probably, the Dodgers or Giants or Mets or Cubs or Nationals. They want to go to FA. Then he gets to LA, and finds out what LA can offer him... and at that point, well — there's a pandemic, etc. — how much more is he really going to get than 12/$365m — 13/$385m including 2020 — by taking the risk of playing another (super weird, pandemic-influenced) season? If he's looking at 13/$385m, but believes that the most he could realistically get in FA would be $400m... well, you begin to see why he signed. He'd already gotten most of what he asked for.

If you did the math the same way you did for Machado, you'd project Betts to produce something like 60 WAR over the next 13 seasons and get close to a $500m deal. But clearly Betts doesn't believe he can actually get such a deal. So it might be that guys like Betts and Trout need less from the market's price discovery mechanism because their price has already been discovered, and it's "as much as an MLB franchise can afford to pay a single player under the sport's current economic/CBA constraints, give or take a few million." The constraint is no longer their projections.
I think there is a combination of increased risk causing a discount because the higher WAR players always have high yearly salary but are also longer, and a compression effect from the salary cap. All the dollars as you get closer to or over the cap cost you more in either opportunity cost or in real dollars, or both. In a cap-free version of the league, $/WAR could be much more linear.
 

BaseballJones

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Through May 6:

Verdugo: .315/.377/.509/.886, 22 r, 4 hr, 16 rbi, 1.1 bWAR
Betts: .248/.358/.410/.767, 16 r, 3 hr, 6 rbi, 0.8 bWAR
 

Van Everyman

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Speier had a nice piece on Dugie yesterday:

On occasion, a righthanded hitter with incredibly quick hands who catches a fastball out in front of the plate might hit that sort of homer. But lefties, who typically catch the ball deep in the zone when driving it to the opposite field — meaning less bat speed at the point of impact — almost never hit such a rocket.

“You probably had to have been perfect to hit it out at that angle and at that spot,” said Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers.

“You have to be on time. You gotta be perfect,” agreed manager Alex Cora. “That was eye-opening.”

Verdugo continues to show a balanced offensive approach that allows him to excel in Fenway. Entering Wednesday, he was hitting .327/.371/.527 with two homers in 15 games at home this year. Those numbers resulted from an almost perfect distribution of balls hit in play to the opposite field, center, and pulled, as well as an even spread of grounders, liners, and flies.

That even spread underscores Verdugo’s adaptability as a hitter. He does not simply sell out for power or shoot liners to the opposite field. He does not provide opposing pitchers with a clear path for beating him.

“Whenever they shift him, he knows that there’s a lot of hits on the other side,” said Cora. “He likes hits.”

With an overall .314/.379/.520 line and modest 12.9 percent strikeout rate (15th lowest among qualifying hitters), Verdugo represents one of the better pure hitters in the game. And his ability to handle all pitch types, work deep counts, and hit the ball hard to all fields has made him a catalyst in front of J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers.

“He’s one of the best hitters that we have, and there’s a reason he’s hitting second,” said Cora. “I still feel he can be better, and he puts the work in. It’s fun to watch.”
 

BaseballJones

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I don't think any of us would argue that Verdugo is as good as, never mind better than, Mookie Betts. But so far even if it was a 1-for-1 trade, it's not as lopsided as I would have thought.

2020-21
Verdugo: .298/.357/.466/.823, 123 ops+, 3.1 bWAR, rookie salary
Betts: .279/.371/.511/.883, 142 ops+, 5.5 bWAR, $22.9m

As a straight-up player, yeah, obviously Mookie is better, but the gap isn't as big as I'd have imagined. But when you factor in the salary, Verdugo gives you a lot more bang for your buck. It'll be interesting to watch this moving forward. Especially if Downs and Wong give the Sox anything.
 

billy ashley

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In fairness to Betts, his numbers are dragged down due to this season, where he's been pretty banged up. There are a lot of troubling signs with his statcast data this season, but I imagine that could be the result of him playing hurt than an errosion of skills. Assuming that's all it is, Betts should return to his normal superstar status. If not, yikes for LA. Especially on the defensive side, where his sprint speed has been really average this year.

I adore Betts, and hope he throws up another 40 fWAR for LA, so I'm not the most impartial person on this...

Verdugo has been excellent. He does just about everything well. The Red Sox absolutely "won" this trade in that they were in a terrible situation (of their own making, sadly) and turned it into an excellent OF, a top 50(ish prospect) and an interesting catching/utility prospect.

I'm rooting for Betts to make a bunch more all star teams, I am just hoping he's playing against rosters that include Verdugo and Downs.
 
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Cesar Crespo

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I don't think any of us would argue that Verdugo is as good as, never mind better than, Mookie Betts. But so far even if it was a 1-for-1 trade, it's not as lopsided as I would have thought.

2020-21
Verdugo: .298/.357/.466/.823, 123 ops+, 3.1 bWAR, rookie salary
Betts: .279/.371/.511/.883, 142 ops+, 5.5 bWAR, $22.9m

As a straight-up player, yeah, obviously Mookie is better, but the gap isn't as big as I'd have imagined. But when you factor in the salary, Verdugo gives you a lot more bang for your buck. It'll be interesting to watch this moving forward. Especially if Downs and Wong give the Sox anything.
Outside of 2018, Betts has looked like a 130-140 OPS+ player. He's getting paid for that 186 season though.
 

billy ashley

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Outside of 2018, Betts has looked like a 130-140 OPS+ player. He's getting paid for that 186 season though.
He's also getting paid for the elite defense. There are some troubling signs there, regarding sprint speed in the OF. Though I don't know if that's something that is prone to variation. He's also been banged up all season, which I imagine could throw off short term performance defensively.

Offensively, he's sporting the lowest ISO since 2015. Some of that is likely ball park, some of that is likely the new ball. But he's not a 30 million dollar player if he's got an ISO under .200 and average defense in RF.

I'm rooting for the guy and hoping it's just injuries / an early season slump.
 

shaggydog2000

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In fairness to Betts, his numbers are dragged down due to this season, where he's been pretty banged up. There are a lot of troubling signs with his statcast data this season, but I imagine that could be the result of him playing hurt than an errosion of skills. Assuming that's all it is, Betts should return to his normal superstar status. If not, yikes for LA. Especially on the defensive side, where his sprint speed has been really average this year.

I adore Betts, and hope he throws up another 40 fWAR for LA, so I'm not the most impartial person on this...

Verdugo has been excellent. He does just about everything well. The Red Sox absolutely "won" this trade in that they were in a terrible situation (of their own making, sadly) and turned it into an excellent OF, a top 50(ish prospect) and an interesting catching/utility prospect.

I'm rooting for Betts to make a bunch more all star teams, I am just hoping he's playing against rosters that include Verdugo and Downs.
Injury is the big concern for those long term contracts though. I'd root for Betts no matter where he went (unless it was the Yankees of course) and I hope he continues to have a great career for his sake, but the way he doesn't earn his contract is if the injuries start to add up and bring down his level of play permanently.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Betts is still on pace for a 6.3+ bWAR season, most of it with the bat (5.4). HIs career OPS+ is 135, this year it's at 133. Ignoring 2020, his 2nd highest OPS+ for a season is 135. He's on pace for 0.6-1.0 DWAR, with the Redsox he was worth about 2 a year. Last year he was worth 0.9 in 55 games. This year he is at 0.2 in 47.

If his defense was up to the last few years, he'd be on pace for a 7.5+ bWAR season.

This season is pretty much in line with his career though. I think most of us envisioned Betts as a 6-7 WAR player rather than 9+. To be fair though, he has had 2 9+ WAR seasons and was on pace for one last year.

With all that said, over his last 21 games: .284/.404/.506, .313 BAbip, 99 PA, 15bb/13k. His early season "struggles" could just be a SSS and he hasn't had enough PA to balance out a cold streak.

Verdugo is on pace for roughly a 3.0 bWAR season. 3.6 with the bat, -0.9 with the glove. Prior to this year, Verdugo was at 1.1 dWAR and 0.5 dWAR for 2019 and 2020. Chances are his -0.3 dWAR doesn't end up at -0.9 and may even end up in the positive.


Long story short, Betts in an off year is still twice as valuable as Verdugo... and it's not hard to envision Verdugo having close to a 4.0 bWAR season. Still, I'd rather not be on the hook for Betts for another 11 seasons. It's also crazy that he's that much more valuable than Verdugo when Verdugo is quite valuable himself.
 

effectivelywild

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Betts has a new baby at home, doesn't he? I wouldn't discount that playing a factor in his production this year.
I think you would have to look up his day game and night game splits. If I recall correctly, haven't there been some Sox players in the past, like Varitek, that showed significant variation?

I'm just saying I ran the simulations and there is only a 1 in 10,000 chance that EV couldn't figure it out.
 

rymflaherty

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^
Betts splits avg/obp/slg
Day
250 .348 .325

Night
267 .386 .486


It’s 10 day games to 37 night.
His home/road splits are more drastic. Hitting better on the Road.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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Interesting mic'd up moment between Verdugo and Sanchez tonight where it seems like Verdugo is responding to getting called out for peaking at pitch location. He said something like 'he looks at the front edge of home plate' but that it was also 'his bad'.
 

soxhop411

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Interesting mic'd up moment between Verdugo and Sanchez tonight where it seems like Verdugo is responding to getting called out for peaking at pitch location. He said something like 'he looks at the front edge of home plate' but that it was also 'his bad'.
Also made friends with a Yankees fan
View: https://twitter.com/MLB/status/1401357815634141187
View: https://twitter.com/jgroc/status/1401363151388618753
View: https://twitter.com/jgroc/status/1401339141825118209?s=21
 
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