The Boston Red Sox right fielder is looking amazing right now and it’s exactly what the team needed.
The young Sox outfielder hit .280/.328/.732 last season, his lowest since 2018.
At the end of last season, Manager Alex Cora called out Alex Verdugo, saying how the right fielder needed to take a bigger leap the next season (this season) and so far, Dugie has accepted the challenge.
Boston Red Sox getting what they need out of Alex Verdugo
Verdugo has been on a tear so far this season and its completely due to him changing his training regiment this past offseason. Last season, Verdugo’s goal was to gain muscle mass for some more pop from his bat.
Because of his aggressive approach his batting average, on base percentage, and OPS dropped from the season before. Though it wasn’t a “bad” season, it wasn’t the season we were expecting from Dugie.
Coming into this season, he focused leads on putting on muscle and more on becoming more explosive, and explosive he has been. In 152 games last season, Verdugo stole one bag all season. This season, through just 18 games he’s stolen the same amount of bags as he did all of last year.
Along with the explosiveness offensively, defensively Dugie has looked great. He’s moving around more athletic than he’s ever looked and reaching balls easier. As a matter of fact, he’s rated in the 94th percentile in outs above average.
If you continue to look at his advance metrics, they’re all in his favor. Quietly, he’s becoming one of the most disciplined batters in the entire league. 97th percentile in whiff percentage and 86th percentile in chase percentage. For a leadoff hitter, that’s exactly what you’re looking for.
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Another thing you want from a leadoff hitter is the ability to get on base. 95th percentile in K percentage and 63rd percentile in BB percentage is a great compliment of his .348 average and his .416 on base percentage.
In spring training, Verdugo said he had a goal of hitting 40+ doubles. Last season, he hit a career high 39 doubles, just shy of the 40 mark. If he’s able to keep hitting at the pace that he is now, (which I think is very realistic) there is no doubt in my mind that the right fielder will be able to hit that 40 mark and go past it even.
Obviously players are going to go through hot and cold stretched in a 162 game season, but I think Dugie is going to impress some people when his highs are notably more higher than his lows will be low. He’s chasing an All-Star spot right now.