Red Sox: Alex Verdugo would make for a productive lead-off hitter
Alex Verdugo is the perfect man for the job at Boston’s lead-off spot.
After just five games of this shortened 2020 MLB season, it’s already become evident that it’s going to be a tough one for the Boston Red Sox. Following a convincing offensive performance in the opening night win against the Baltimore Orioles, the Red Sox offense has looked very tame over the four games since that display. It’s obvious that pitching is the absolute weak point of this roster, but if the offense can’t get going either, then it’s going to be an extremely hard watch for fans this season.
So far this season, Andrew Benintendi has batted lead-off for three games and Jose Peraza for two games. Between the two of them they have three hits from that spot over a total of 21 at-bats. Not the perfect start. Yes, it’s only been a handful of games and I’m sure that this lineup will find its feet sooner rather or later. But in games where the top of the order has needed to be there ready to produce run-scoring opportunities from the start, there just hasn’t been anything going.
There are a lot of players who you can see why they’d be tried at the top of the order. Benintendi had a .343 OBP last season and, when hot, is one of Boston’s biggest offensive threats. Peraza has shown that he’s a tricky player for opposing pitching and can grind out hits, but his presence would be better nearer the bottom of the order. You’ve then got other names being brought up in conversation like Kevin Pillar – who seems like he’s going to be a solid player for this team.
However, Alex Verdugo, who came into Boston as part of the Mookie Betts/David Price trade, looks to be the most applicable candidate for the job early on. Verdugo has started in three of the five games thus far, going 3-for-4 in his debut last Saturday.
Hopefully, those two days where he didn’t play aren’t signalling the Sox trying to mold him into a platoon player, because his hustle and presence on the field has been one of the only bright sparks since opening night.
More from Red Sox News
- Latest Red Sox-Rafael Devers contract update might be final straw for fans
- Is Jean Segura the solution to Red Sox’ Trevor Story concerns?
- Xander Bogaerts issues emotional farewell to Red Sox on Instagram
- Kiké Hernández’s reaction to Justin Turner signing should hype up Red Sox fans
- Red Sox ‘in the mix’ for longtime Dodgers slugger Justin Turner
With Verdugo coming in, nobody was expecting him to become the next Mookie Betts, especially right off the bat, but it seemed like he would just slot into the right field spot and become that everyday starter there. With Pillar being brought in as well, it gives this Red Sox outfield plenty of depth both offensively and defensively as they have four players who can be very productive on both ends. But, for Verdugo it’s not going to be a walk in a park to get into this lineup by the looks of things.
What Verdugo has shown so far warrants getting a chance at the top of the order. He’s a guy who’s going to go into every single at-bat making it as hard as possible for the pitcher. His base-running has looked great and he’s got a bit of speed about him that can help himself get on base and get the Sox off to a fast start – something they are in desperate need of after falling behind so quickly in each loss so far this season.
Verdugo hit .294/.342/.475 with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2019 season. He’s a hitter who can do a bit of everything and if he sees the at-bats then he’ll be able to become a key player in this Red Sox lineup.
Ron Roenicke will need to give Verdugo time to blossom, and it can’t really be as a platoon player. Especially in such a short season, it’s going to be difficult for him to get into the swing of things if he’s playing one day on-one day off. And, as weak as this offense has been over the past few days, now is the time to try out just about anyone who can get something going quickly.
Verdugo seems as though he’s been one of the most eager players straight from the off and the Sox have runs they need to score in order to at least make a run at the playoffs this year. It’s going to be a long shot now, but with the offensive weapons they have at their disposal nothing is impossible, as long as they’re used correctly.