Alex Verdugo is about to get white-hot for the Red Sox in Minnesota
We’re about to kick off the final leg of the first road trip of the season and the Red Sox don’t seem to be slowing down whatsoever. After that rough opening weekend, Boston has rattled off six straight wins and currently sits free and clear atop the American League East standings. While there have been several players contributing to the current run of wins, one man I’m pegging as the next to get hot is Alex Verdugo.
Dugie was one of the very few revelations from the misery that was the 2020 baseball season. The charismatic outfielder came to Boston via the Mookie Betts trade and would promptly mash to the tune of a .308/.367/.478/.844 line with 6 homers and 15 RBI. There wasn’t much to tune in for last year but Verdugo was absolutely one of them. Unfortunately, the outfielder has been off to a very quiet start in 2021 but that feels like it won’t last for long.
After being silent in spring training and through the first series with the Orioles, Dugie is starting to find his groove and that means bad things for the Minnesota Twins. Over his last five games, we’re starting to see the hits begin to pile up for Alex and you can see his swagger starting to grow more and more. In the series finale in Baltimore, he launched a three-run bomb that looked like he had a thousand pounds lifted off of his shoulders.
The reason I feel like he’s the guy that is going to jump off the ground in this series is that he’s showing progress with each game that passes. His AVG has grown from a ghastly .000 after that opening weekend up to a .212 heading into this afternoon’s game. Some may not be impressed by that stat but that’s a massive jump for a guy who had a rough spring training and was a black hole in the lineup for an entire series to start 2021.
He’ll be running into J.A. Happ in game one of the series which should bode well for the lefty. Happ is the definition of a veteran in this league but he’s also not always consistent and after a bit of an ugly start recently, Dugie will want to jump on him early. Alex will once again be in the two-spot in Alex Cora’s lineup which should hopefully give him plenty of chances to rack up some RBI’s today. With Kiké Hernández also getting hot in front of him in the order and J.D. Martinez as the hottest hitter in baseball behind him, we could see an electric top of the lineup today.
When I look at Verdugo’s offense up to this point another stat also pops out at me. He has seven hits, five of which are for extra bases. That’s what I’m looking for from him especially with his spot in the batting order. If Kiké can continue to get on base against this Twins side then he can be brought right home thanks to a Verdugo double. It’s a perfect one-two punch that we haven’t really seen since Betts and Andrew Benintendi in 2018.
The homers will come in due time but as long as he’s cracking doubles left and right then I’m more than happy with that performance. We all know the second he gets on base he’s already trying to figure out whether or not he can steal a base and will always try to.
Verdugo is also one of those guys that will fly out of the gate from the crack of the bat to go from first to third to give the Red Sox their best chance at adding a run. We’ve seen his at-bats getting stronger and stronger over the last few games and a clash with the AL Central-leading Twins could be the spark he’s looking for.
The Boston Red Sox have bounced back from a nightmare of an opening weekend in a way that nobody thought they could. One of the biggest pieces in their future success will be Alex Verdugo and his never-say-die style of play. He’s starting to get hot and this upcoming series with Minnesota has the chance to be the flame that gets him to boil. He’s my player to keep an eye on for this series and I doubt he’ll make me regret saying it.