Red Sox left fielder Alex Verdugo
.212/.254/.331, 3 HR, 15 RBI, -0.5 WAR
It’s hard to believe that Alex Verdugo is even on this list. He got off to a torrid start this season, slashing .333/.400/.667 with three homers over his first ten games. Yet over the last 21 games, Verdugo has fallen off completely, slashing just .173/.198/.210 with no home runs. His has been particularly anemic versus left-handed pitching (6-for-27, one extra-base hit).
As Verdugo’s struggles have compounded, his approach has completely fallen apart. He’s walked just three times in that span and has increased his first strike swing percentage from 19% to 29%. He still makes contact at an elite rate, but because he can’t elevate the ball (5.5 degree average launch angle), he hasn’t been able to hit for power.
The biggest reason for Verdugo’s struggles, however, is bad luck. He ranks in the 77nd in the percentile in XBA and 85th in XSLG, and his batting metrics have remained fairly constant from last year. The biggest change has been his fortune on batted balls, as his BABIP has dropped from .327 to .220. At a certain point, Verdugo’s fortune is going to change, and if he can elevate the ball like he did in the beginning of the season, he should be just fine.