Alex Verdugo had a heck of a rookie year. The then-22-year-old Arizona native entered the 2019 season as one of the most highly talked about prospects and TBLA named him the No. 1 Dodgers prospect. Unfortunately, he was unable to play much of the second half after injuries cut his season short.
What went right
Verdugo got the start on Opening Day and proved to be a strong asset in the Dodgers lineup. He became an everyday player during the first half of the season, missing only six games before the All-Star Break.
He was never a home run hitter before becoming a big league player, but showed signs of improvement this season. He hit a dozen dingers in 2019, which is one less than his career total from Double-A Tulsa in 2016. What changed? His approach at the plate was patient and controlled. He was smart in the batter’s box and it proved to benefit his own numbers, as well as the team in clutch situations.
He played a total of 106 games during his rookie season and only Cody Bellinger finished with a better batting average than Dugie. He finished with a .294/.342/.475 batting line and had a 3.1 bWAR.
What went wrong
Verdugo had a bit of a home run dry spell for more than a month, going 39 games without hitting one over the fence.
The most devastating part of his season was the season-ending injuries. He was placed on the injured list on Aug. 6 with a right oblique strain and did not recover in time for the postseason, as originally anticipated. While on his rehab assignment with the Ogden Raptors, he sustained an injury to his back while swinging and missing a pitch. As of Dec. 13, Verdugo was progressing in rehab, but has yet to resume baseball activities.
Stats: .294 BA, .342 OBP, .475 SLG, .817 OPS, 12 HR, 44 RBI, 43 R, 3.1 WAR
Game of the year
Alex Verdugo came in clutch often for the Dodgers, but one of the most memorable came during a special weekend in June. He was the second of three rookie Dodgers to hit walk-off home runs against the Rockies to sweep the series.
He came in with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning and hit a home run to end the game.
WALKIN' OFF IS A HABIT, PUT IT IN THE AIR. pic.twitter.com/VyVuxvVcqP— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 23, 2019
He was so hot, BreakingT even made a shirt featuring him.