Red Sox: Alex Verdugo may finally hit his slugging potential in 2022
Alex Verdugo is becoming the slugger the Red Sox need
The Red Sox offense has been very hit or miss so far in 2022, pun very much intended. However, Alex Verdugo has been one of the few in the lineup that has been carrying his weight since Opening Day. When he first joined the team we heard all about the pop in his bat and this season is shaping up to be the one that sees him reach his potential.
Boston downed the Twins to the tune of 4-0 yesterday afternoon and Verdugo is a big reason why the Red Sox walked away with the win. Not only did he make several great defensive plays but he also launched a ball over the bullpen that would put the Sox up 2-0 and they never looked back. That two-run shot would be Dugie’s third homer of the season and already has him to a quarter of the number he launched last year.
While the team continues to shake off the rust and work out the kinks from the short spring training, Verdugo sure seems to be firing on all cylinders. Alex joked that he always wants to crush a ton of home runs each season and then winds up always falling short. His plan of attack this year has been to focus on more extra-base hits and by aiming for doubles his power is showing through in his swing and allowing the ball to fly out of the park.
"“I feel like each year I always try to say I’m going to hit 30 (homers) and I hit 12,” Verdugo joked. “So this year, it’s just really been the other way around. I’m trying to hit the ball hard. Hit as many doubles as I can. Just finding at the moment they are carrying a little further.”"
Dugie has been giving the Red Sox what they’ve needed with his bat and with his desire to win his first Gold Glove in 2022, he’s been ramping up his efforts there as well. If the dynamic outfielder is able to continue on the path that he’s on he’ll more than surpass his career-best of 13 homers by a landslide. By not trying to hit the ball out of the park it’s actually helping him do exactly that. Interestingly enough, his desire to smack more double has led him to only hitting one through his eight games played.
I have no doubt that as we get deeper into April and eventually May that the always potent Red Sox offense will click into place. Once everyone else starts to get hot it’ll only make Verdugo the more dangerous. Opposing pitchers won’t be able to pass up one bat for another as they’ll all pose a threat. He’s already making teams pay for not respecting his bat and the more his confidence grows the worse it’s going to get.
Alex had the unenviable task of being the biggest name in the Mookie Betts trade but he’s done more than enough in his short time in Boston to separate himself from that cloud. Whether it’s his explosive energy, charismatic playing style, or ear-to-ear grin, he has Red Sox Nation wrapped around his finger. And if he keeps smacking baseballs out of Fenway Park at his current rate he’ll wind up being one of the biggest stories of 2022.
"“Really not trying to do too much and ironically putting my bigger swings up,” Verdugo said."
The Red Sox currently sit fourth in the division but with the season just a week old the big dogs are all within reach of each other. Boston goes on a hellacious run through the AL East as 13 of their next 15 games are exclusively against their rivals.
We’ve seen the team show some brilliance on both sides of the ball the last few days and I believe an early-season divisional marathon will bring the best out of them. I also think it’s safe to believe that Alex won’t miss a chance to thump the rest of the East to give the Sox a massive boost.