With the offseason in full swing, it’s time once again to look back on the season, reviewing each player one by one, at least daily from now until the end of the calendar year. We start with outfielder Alex Verdugo, who made three different trips to the big leagues in 2018.
What went right
Verdugo had another outstanding year with Triple-A Oklahoma City, hitting .329/.391/.472 with 10 homers and 19 doubles in 379 plate appearances. The 22-year-old has been one of the better hitters in Triple-A over the past two seasons.
At one point, Verdugo had a hit in 31 of 37 games over a two-month stretch, going 54-for-140 (.386) over that time.
Verdugo’s first stint with the Dodgers came in late April when Yasiel Puig landed on the 10-day disabled list. The outfielder would start nine of the 11 games he was on the roster for, going 9-for-34 with four doubles.
“He’s a gritty little player,” manager Dave Roberts said about Verdugo after a Dodger win in May. “He does a lot of things to help you win ball games. I like his at-bats. For a young player, he’s really unfazed.”
In a shorter trip to the big leagues in July, Verdugo was 5-for-16 with a homer. If it weren’t for the fact that the Dodgers were so deep this year at the major league level, Verdugo could have had more playing time.
“No matter what decision we make, it won’t be performance-based,” Roberts told media in July when the Dodgers would be forced to send Verdugo back to Triple-A to activate Yasiel Puig. “Alex has performed really well at the Triple-A level. He’s a Major League player. But the way we’re playing, with our depth, certain guys are the odd man out at times. I can’t say enough about him.”
What went wrong
After being recalled on September 1 when rosters expanded, Verdugo only started three games in September. There just wasn’t playing time as the Dodgers weren’t guaranteed of making the playoffs.
As a lefty bat, Verdugo was behind Joc Pederson and Cody Bellinger when Los Angeles faced a right-hander. The 22-year-old went 6-for-27 with a double and three walks.
When the Dodgers were in the midst of dealing for what would be Manny Machado and Brian Dozier in July, it was Verdugo’s name once again that was thrown about in trade rumors.
“I don’t really care this year,” Verdugo said to Jacob Unruh of The Oklahoman. “I’m playing baseball. To me, I can’t control that. I think the Dodgers want to keep me.
“I’m trying to at least stay with the organization.”
Those rumors could persist this offseason as the Dodgers figure out how to get back to the World Series for a third straight year.
Stats: 20-for-77, 6 2B, 1 HR, 11 R, 8 BB, .260/.329/.377
Salary: pro-rated share of major league minimum of $545,000, roughly $137,000
Game of the year
One of Verdugo’s six multi-hit games in 2018, the 22-year-old doubled twice and scored the only runs for the Dodgers in a 2-1 win over Arizona at Chase Field back on May 2.
Verdugo has 78 days of major league service time, and two option years remaining.