Alex Verdugo is finally coming into his own for the Boston Red Sox

Minnesota Twins v Boston Red Sox
Minnesota Twins v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo has really come into his own in the 2023 season. As one of the major components of the trade that sent Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Verdugo had a lot of expectations placed upon his shoulders by fans of the team. While he has been decent in previous seasons, which we will discuss later, he has truly shown flashes of high-level play this season in nearly every game.

The Red Sox have rewarded Verdugo with the leadoff spot for his success this year, in which he has continually thrived for a few series. Having Alex right before Rafael Devers and Justin Turner has worked out exceptionally well in most scenarios, with Verdugo hitting for contact and the latter two for power.

Alex Verdugo's bat has been lethal for the Red Sox so far this season

In his first season with Boston, he only played in 53 games, however, he was exceptional in that stretch. He would accrue .308/.367/.844 splits, with 15 RBI, six home runs, 36 runs, and 17 walks drawn. However, his statline was relatively disappointing in the next two seasons. Between 2021-2022, he would have .284/.339/.754 splits, with 137 RBI (63 in 2021, 74 in 2022), 24 home runs, 163 runs, and 93 walks drawn. While the counting stats were productive and high, the efficiency numbers were rather tame compared to his age-24 season.

This season, however, Verdugo has taken the league by storm through the first 24 games. As of Monday night post-game, he has .319/.390/.869 splits, with 12 RBI, three home runs, 19 runs, and nine walks drawn. At this pace, he would absolutely surpass the success of his 2020 season, with both efficiency and counting stats on pace to do so.

For those who are more into advanced statistics, here is the section for you. This season Verdugo has his second-highest hard hit percentage (42.3%), the second-highest BAbip of his career (.347), the highest run-scoring percentage of his career (41%), and most interestingly, the lowest ground ball percentage of his career (39.7%).

What really stands out in the advanced statistics is his run-scoring percentage, which most fans are able to see in his everyday play. His athleticism this season has been off the charts, with his speed taking a major step upward, and his mobility around the bags also improving. This also shows up in his fielding, which is hugely beneficial to Boston's outfield this season.

Not only the bat has improved, but also Alex Verdugo's glove

For those who watched Verdugo against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night, they got to see a glimpse of his true ability in the field. This was displayed in the bottom of the eighth inning, where Orioles' catcher James McCann hit a deep fly into the right field corner. It seemed like it would be a double at first glance, potentially advancing the runner to third or even driving in a run. Then you see Verdugo ranging, sliding, and making the catch backhanded with the glove facing outwards.

As mentioned by Tyler Milliken in the initial tweet, Verdugo ranks in the 92nd percentile in Outs Above Average according to Baseball Savant. The definition of this metric according to the respective network is, "a range-based metric of skill that shows how many outs a player has saved." With Alex Verdugo being in the top 92% of the league in this category, that shows how exceptional he has been at getting outs. Another statistic from Baseballsavant would be arm strength, in which Verdugo ranks in the 96th percentile, showing he not only has range, but also throwing capabilities.

In terms of more standard fielding statistics, Verdugo has played in 191 innings this season defensively. He has had 53 fielding chances, with no errors, therefore giving him a 1.000% fielding rate.

Obviously, the sample size is small still for this season, but as of right now, Verdugo is one of the better players on the roster. The hope would be that the Sox can get an extension done sooner rather than later as if he keeps this up, he would be worth every penny of a new deal. At only 27 years old, he has plenty of career in front of him as well.

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