LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers plan to use second-round draft pick Alex Verdugo, a two-way player from Sahuaro High School in Tucson, Arizona, in center field, vice president of amateur scouting Logan White said on a conference call on Thursday night.
"When you go see a guy who's left-handed who throws 90-94 with a good curveball, and he throws strikes, he would have been a very high pick as a pitcher," White said. "But he loves to hit. He's got a really good swing. He's an athlete, he's an above-average runner. We're going to put him out in center."
Verdugo was 4-3 with 93 strikeouts and 31 walks in 52⅔ innings as a senior, and at the plate hit .532/.593/.861 with 18 doubles and 17 walks.
White likened Verdugo as a hitter to Joc Pederson, currently torching the Pacific Coast League at age 22, in that both are line drive hitters who make use of outfield gaps on both sides of the field. White on Thursday spoke with Verdugo's mother, who said it was Verdugo's preference to hit rather than pitch, and that's just what the Dodgers plan to do.
"If he doesn't hit, he can go right on the mound like Kenley Jansen or Pedro Baez or those guys, and I think he's a big league pitcher. But I don't have any doubt this kid is going to go out and swing the bat well," White said. "I was trying at that point in a draft that's weaker with position players, trying to put a position player in our organization."
The alotted slot amount for the No. 62 pick in the draft is $914,600. SB Nation's own Chris Cotillo reported earlier Thursday that Verdugo, with advisor Dan Lozano, and the Dodgers had already agreed to a deal.
Verdugo himself told Daniel Gaona of the Arizona Daily Star he would sign with the Dodgers and opt out of his ASU scholarship.
“Something I’ve dreamed about is to be in the major leagues,” Verdugo told Gaona. “Just to know that I’m on my way there and I’m taking the right steps forward to get there just drives me insane thinking about it.”
White would only say Verdugo, an Arizona State commit, was happy to be drafted by Los Angeles. Once Verdugo does sign, he would report to the Dodgers facility at Camelback Ranch in Arizona.
"Alex seemed excited to be a Dodger. My thought is hopefully getting him out soon so he has the whole summer to just concentrate on hitting. In some ways, it's more important to me to get Alex out there quicker [than first-round pick Grant Holmes, a pitcher] so he can get the at-bats."