Given the Los Angeles Dodgers’ crowded outfield the last couple of years, top prospect Alex Verdugo has not gotten a real opportunity to prove what he can do at the Major League level despite having a ton of success with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently revealed that Verdugo is going to make the Opening Day roster this season, which the 22-year-old described as a ‘dream come true.’
With A.J. Pollock and Cody Bellinger expected to occupy center and right field, respectively, just about every day, and Joc Pederson and Chris Taylor platooning in left, it is unclear how many opportunities Verdugo is going to get at the start of the season.
When he does get those chances to play, though, Verdugo is focused on making the most of it as some of his teammates have in the last couple years, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“Whatever I get, I’ll take advantage of it, do what I do and after that, get more playing time that way,” said Verdugo. “It’s a mindset. It’s definitely not what you want. You want to play every day, that’s the goal.
“But the Dodgers, we do things slightly different. Everybody’s all-in on it, we understand our roles. If you play well, like [Max] Muncy did last year, you take off with the role. It’s the same with [Cody] Bellinger when A-Gon [Adrian Gonzalez] got hurt and [Chris] Taylor did it too. If you take advantage and play well, they’ll put you on the field.”
Verdugo had a bit of a slow spring, but he possesses unique tools that can help the Dodgers win a lot of games even if he is coming off the bench.
As Verdugo alluded to, the Dodgers’ depth and ability to fill in for injured players has been their biggest strength in recent years. If any of the team’s outfielders get hurt in 2019, Verdugo would be the first replacement to fill in and prove what he can do at the big league level.