The Los Angeles Dodgers are set to enter Spring Training with a loaded outfield depth chart that features the likes of Kiké Hernandez, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor and Andrew Toles all contending for three positions.
Other possible options include the newly-acquired Matt Kemp — largely dependent on the club’s ability to jettison the veteran’s salary elsewhere — and promising rookie Alex Verdugo, who has remained in the organization despite consistent trade rumors revolving around him.
Verdugo received his long-awaited promotion to the Majors last September and proceeded to slash .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 he hit .314/.389/.436 with 37 extra-base hits over 495 trips to the plate.
During an interview on “Access: SportsNet Dodgers”, Verdugo revealed his biggest takeaway after experiencing a month of Major League action, via Spectrum SportsNet LA:
“I think the biggest thing I took away was, just starting to set relationships with the guys and understanding the work ethic, kind of what it takes to be in the big leagues, how to work and how to go about your business every day.”
Verdugo specifically credited Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner, among a few veteran teammates, for offering him guidance during his cup of coffee in the Majors.
Verdugo’s main focus this offseason is to add muscle in an effort to bulk up and hit for more power. His career-high in home runs at any level is 13, which was accomplished during a stint with Double-A Tulsa in 2016.
The 21-year-old checks in as the Dodgers’ top-ranked positional prospect and figures to challenge for a spot on the 25-man roster during Cactus League play in March. Though, he could very well open up the year at Triple-Oklahoma City and serve as a potential reinforcement later in the season.