The Los Angeles Dodgers boast one of the Major League’s best farm systems and reaped the benefits during the 2017 season, receiving contributions throughout the year from the likes of National League Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler and Alex Verdugo.
Verdugo recently supplanted Bellinger as the organization’s top positional prospect and received a September call-up for the Dodgers last season, where he slashed .174/.240/.304 with one home run over 25 plate appearances.
That was a far cry from his production with Triple-A Oklahoma City earlier in the year, in which Verdugo batted .314/.389/.436 with 37 extra-base hits over 495 trips to the plate.
In an interview on “Access: SportsNet Dodgers,” Verdugo revealed which teammates offered him guidance during his brief time in the Majors, via Spectrum SportsNet LA:
“Curtis Granderson helped me a lot when I got up. He talked to me about the outfield, of course, and kind of what the Dodgers are doing. Even though he was new, he was learning with me, but he definitely helped me a lot. Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen helped me a lot, Alex Wood, and Adrian Gonzalez, of course. All the veterans, they would see me do something or slip up a little bit, and they would kind of get on me about it. But they’d do it the right way. They’d let me know, ‘It’s alright. You’re going to mess up but you need to learn and improving to make sure you don’t mess up in the future.’”
Verdugo’s cup of coffee in the Majors wasn’t always smooth sailing, however, as he overslept and arrived late to the field before a contest in September. That led to Rich Hill condemning the rookie’s mistake, making it clear to him that wasn’t acceptable at the Major League level.
The 21-year-old figures to get another look during Spring Training, where he’ll challenge for a roster spot and possibly even the starting left field job. He’ll face plenty of competition, though, as the Dodgers already have Kiké Hernandez, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor and Andrew Toles in the outfield fold.