Alex Verdugo is the heart of this Red Sox squad
There are a lot of words that could be used to describe last night’s game but we don’t have all day. For the Red Sox, it was another tally in the win column though it felt like it was going to turn sour on numerous occasions. We saw several heroic efforts last night but none larger than that of Alex Verdugo. Once again, his spark, his energy, and his never-say-die attitude lifted Boston to another victory and it’s becoming a consistent outcome.
Dugie has become one of the biggest personalities on this team and can be seen grinning from ear to ear every night just because he gets to play baseball. It doesn’t matter if he’s gunning down a runner at second or cranking a three-run blast like he did last night, he’s the heart of this team. One thing that I think we can all say we’ve noticed is that whether the Red Sox are up or down, he’s the loudest voice in the room and fires everyone up.
He’s only been with the organization for a short time but he’s quickly become one of the names fans want to see come up when the game is on the line. Alongside J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers he makes up one of the more dangerous cores in the league. Seriously, look around the league. How many other teams have four hitters in a row that can absolutely destroy you? Not many. And he’s the guy that get’s that firing squad started.
In 2021, Verdugo owns a .291/.349/.470/.819 line with 9 homers, 31 RBI, and 4 stolen bases. When we look at the grand scheme of left fielders in the American League he lands fifth overall for his offensive abilities, per Fangraphs. If we shift over one spot in the outfield and look at where he lands for center fielders he moves up a spot to fourth overall. Considering the talent that surrounds he American League in the outfield, that’s a pretty damn fine spot to find yourself.
As I said though it’s not just all about what’s on the statsheet with Verdugo and what he brings to the Red Sox. Look no futher than the occassions where he’s mic’d up and you can see why his teammates absolutely love the guy. He doesn’t let anything get him down, he will gas up his teammates all day long and he will never shy away from flexing. Over the last two seasons it’s felt like the club has severely missed a guy like this and we got to see a bit in 2020, but the Dugie Show is in full effect now.
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With the game tied late last night and runners in scoring position, Verdugo came to the plate and did what he does best. A three-run blast to put the Red Sox back on top and a massive burst of emotion from the young outfielder. As he rounded the bases he threw his arms up in the air in a scene suited for the movie Gladiator. That spark, that jolt of energy, that’s his biggest addition to this team. He brings personality and a vibe that makes this team fun to watch again and relaxes the rest of the squad around him.
I think we’ll see Verdugo continue to flourish under Alex Cora as he’s the exact type of player that AC likes. A guy that is never afraid to get his jersey dirty while raising up his squad. While in the long run, he may not totally fill Mookie Betts’ shoes but he’s sure doing a fine job of helping Red Sox Nation forget about the former AL MVP. This season has already surpassed what most of us had expected and with the quality of this club they have a serious chance at contending this fall, and Verdugo is a big piece to that puzzle.
If Boston wants to get back to the postseason and more importantly the Fall Classic, they’ll need Alex Verdugo to continue lighting things up. His energy is infectious, his love of the game is endearing, and what he brings to the table is intangible. Dugie is a star on the field and off of it and he quickly became a member of one of the most dangerous quartets in the entire MLB. I can’t wait to see what he does the rest of the season and especially when the lights shine the brightest in October.