Dynasty Baseball

2021 Dynasty Baseball Player of the Week: Alex Verdugo

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Welcome back to our 2021 Dynasty Baseball Player of the Week, where this week we’ll be taking a look at Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo. Before we get started, it’s time for some shameless self-promotion. First, make sure you follow us on Instagram @fantasysixpack! I share my three favorite DFS plays on the page every day in our Reels feed. You will get to see my smiling face and free-flowing hair; it’s a win-win.

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It was April 15th, 2013, and the Red Sox played their usual matinee on Marathon Monday. Mike Napoli hit a walk-off double driving in Dustin Pedroia. That walk-off, however, did not end up being the headline in the papers and not even a footnote. The city, our city, was the target of a terrorist attack. That day will go down in infamy here in Boston; we all know the story of the speech from David Ortiz. But to live here, you truly felt the quote “This is our F*king city” really hit differently. It indeed became the rallying cry for Bostonians everywhere

As of this writing, it is Patriots day here in Boston, and it would be Marathon Monday. Though there is no marathon, there still is the annual Red Sox matinee. So this week, I decided to put my Sox hat on and make this week’s Dynasty Player of the week a player that just hit a homer as I type this. His name is non-other than Alex Verdugo; Verdugo is ranked 133rd overall in our rankings and our 44th ranked outfielder.

2021 Dynasty Baseball Player of the Week: Alex Verdugo

 

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Background

As a two-way star from Sahuaro High School in Tuscan, Arizona, the Dodgers selected Verdugo as an outfielder with the 62nd overall pick. Many believed that Verdugo had a future as a pitcher, not so much a hitter. The Dodgers, however, decided to announce that he would indeed be starting his career as an outfielder and if he did not perform, he could then develop as a pitcher.

Verdugo shot through the system, and all he did was hit; one red mark on his game is he did not hit for power. Going through the minors, he was consistently getting on base at a great clip. He had a cup of coffee in 2017 and didn’t fare too well in 15 games. He managed to get four hits in 25 at-bats. However, Going into the 2018 season, the MLB pipeline ranked Verdugo the Dodgers first prospect, and he was ranked #32 overall.

He started the year in AAA and hit well over 300 and an OBP just under 400. This led to a call for the last 37 games; we saw the Verdugo that we except in these games. A good MLB hitter with a plus plus arm in the outfield. His first real season was in 2019, where he suited up for 109 games. He hit 12 homers and slashed .294/.342/.475, a good season for a rookie.

Not Mookie Betts

The trade of Mookie Betts was never about the player’s ability. It was, however, about money. In a massive market like Boston, a financial move is pretty close to inexcusable. No matter how you slice it, this trade will always be a tough one to swallow. The Sox traded the most outstanding right fielder in team history because of money. For those of you who live under a rock inside a vacuum, the trade sent Mookie Betts to the Dodgers for Jeter Downs, Connor Wong, and our subject this week: Alex Verdugo. Alex Verdugo’s name will forever be linked to Mookie Betts. No matter how incredible Verdugo is, the following sentence will–for better or worse–be something about Betts. So for the sake of Verdugo, this will be the last time I mention Mookie Betts.

Alex Verdugo in 2020

It’s opening night, and you would think the Red Sox new toy would be in the starting lineup. However, that was not the case, as Kevin Pillar got the start in right for the Sox. That night the Red Sox won 13-2. Unfortunately, this would be one of the only wins of the season for the team. The media began to speculate. Was the headliner of the trade a platoon outfielder? The Red Sox and the fans would quickly find out that Verdugo was anything but a platoon outfielder. With consistent playing time and even batting leadoff, Verdugo had a fine season slashing .308/.367/.478. As for platooning, Verdugo was hitting both righties(batted .302) and lefties(batted .320).

Although the 2020 season for the sox was lackluster, Verdugo was a lone bright spot. His flashes on the field left fans with hope. However, while looking at his Baseball Savant page, there is a lot to be desired regarding his percentile rankings.

 

2021 and Dynasty Value

There’s a tiny sample size, but thus far, Verdugo is looking like a dude. He’s leading the way with great defense and a significant presence at the plate. Most of all, the dude has swag. He will not be your grandpa’s favorite player, but then again, who really cares?

Although swag is not a category in any fantasy baseball leagues(it should be), it is something that owners could be looking for. Players that are confident in their abilities usually perform better.

As of this writing, Verdugo is slashing .263/.323/.456 and hit his third home run today; that homer inspired me to write this piece today. And most of all, check out this fan; it has to be the most amazing/ridiculous sign I have ever seen.

 

So I take my Sox hat off, now thinking as a rationally-minded dynasty baseball owner. I do believe Verdugo will rise in our rankings and could potentially be a top-30 fantasy outfielder. If he can add some loft to his swing I see a few more homers coming his way. He could top out at 25 in a great year.

I would say that Verdugo’s best days are ahead of him! I would suggest you get Verdugo before the hype gets too high. Unless you’re in my leagues and want to give him to me *winks*.

Just want to add this at the end! Local radio personality Tony Massarotti put out a great video today on Verdugo’s approach recently at the plate. Many don’t enjoy the “character” of Mazz, but stuff like this is great!



Be sure to check out all the great Fantasy Baseball Content all year long.

About Nick Zaniboni

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