The Los Angeles Dodgers have generally plotted out the MLB debuts of top prospects over recent seasons, specifically Joc Pederson and Corey Seager. While the blueprint was set for Julio Urias and Cody Bellinger, circumstances dictated their arrival occur earlier than expected.
Heading into the 2017 season, the general assumption held the Dodgers would call up Bellinger and Alex Verdugo, among others, once active rosters expanded. That quickly changed with Bellinger, who made an immediate impact since joining the Dodgers in April.
As for Verdugo, this season has been his first with Triple-A Oklahoma City. At just 21 years old, he’s one of the youngest players in the Pacific Coast League.
With a successful campaign under his belt, the young outfielder is now on the verge of joining the Dodgers for his MLB debut, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group:
I can confirm what has been relayed via some Facebook leaks already: the Dodgers are calling up outfielder Alex Verdugo for his MLB debut.
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) August 31, 2017
Verdugo will join the Dodgers on Friday for the weekend series with the San Diego Padres. Los Angeles is also expected to recall Brock Stewart, and active Andre Ethier and Clayton Kershaw from the disabled list.
Verdugo batted .314/.389/.436 with 27 doubles, four triples, six home runs and 62 RBI in 117 games. Though, only hit .252/.337/.387 with 13 doubles and three home runs in 188 plate over 45 games, dating back to July 1.
He was among two of the organization’s prospects to appear in the 2017 Futures Game in Miami. Verdugo was also the subject of trade speculation prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, with the Texas Rangers in particular said to be interested.
While the Rangers reportedly sought Verdugo in a trade for Yu Darvish, the Dodgers remained steadfast in their refusal to include him in proposals. General manager Farhan Zaidi said in July he did not envision the Dodgers trading Verdugo, and called one of the organization’s top hitting prospects MLB ready or close to it.