Alex Verdugo will be the leader of a revamped Red Sox outfield
After a series of moves to revamp the outfield during this offseason. Alex Verdugo who was the prize that the Red Sox received in the Mookie Betts deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, is suddenly the longest-tenured outfielder remaining on the team. With J.D. Martinez viewed as the team’s designated hitter, it is Verdugo who provides the most experience in Boston after just one season.
It seemed like it was just yesterday that we would witness the three B’s in Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Jackie Bradley Jr. performing their victory ritual in the outfield. All of sudden, Betts is in his second year with LA, Benny was traded to the Kansas City Royals, and JBJ remains on the free-agent market.
in 2020, Verdugo was one of the few bright spots in a lineup that massively underperformed. Playing 53 out of the 60 games, he produced an impressive .308 average with 6 home runs, 15 runs batted in, and 4 stolen bases.
It was not too long until Verdugo took over the leadoff role in the lineup. He efficiently worked the count by managing to take walks (17) which brought his on-base percentage to a career-high .367. His OBP and BA were team bests out of any of the Red Sox starters last year. It is possible in a larger sample size that he could be a legitimate threat in the lineup whether he is the lead-off guy or not.
He is expected to be the team’s everyday starting center fielder with JBJ out of the picture and will have to be depended on more than he has ever been in his short four-year career. With the depth being minimal in the outfield the expectation should be to play in at least 150 games. It is to the point that the team will have to rely on him arguably more than anyone else on the roster and is expected to be the piece to hold the outfield together.
Spending most of his time in right field a year ago, he went without committing an error which is an encouraging sign. It is unknown what Verdugo can provide during an entire season. The most games he has played in a season is 106, dating back to the 2019 season which was his final year with the Dodgers.
If the Red Sox want to prevent a disaster in the outfield, considering there are a lot of question marks throughout the depth chart, we must see the best version of Alex Verdugo. No pressure though.