Verdugo has big shoes to fill in Boston

Red Sox betting on Verdugo

Alex Verdugo

The Boston Red Sox may have been on the wrong end of the blockbuster trade of this past offseason, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t get value.

No, when they shipped All-Star rightfielder Mookie Betts and former Cy Young-winning lefty David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers as a payroll-cutting measure, the BoSox got back a respectable but not overwhelming package of young talent headed by Alex Verdugo.

In their new 24-year-old rightfielder, the Sox get a player who was ranked as a top-10 prospect a year ago by, with their scouting report calling him “one of the best pure hitting prospects in baseball,” with a quick left-handed stroke that produces line drives but has the potential for power. He also has a plus-plus arm, excellent instincts in the outfield and enough speed to play a corner position.

He was starting to blossom last year in Los Angeles before a core injury in May took its toll. In 343 at-bats, he hit .294 with 12 home runs, 44 RBIs, a .342 on-base percentage and an OPS of .817 before being shut down in early August.

He came to spring training with a stress fracture in his back, which hampered his preseason. But now, after four-plus months of recovery during the shutdown, the Red Sox are ready to see what the new guy can do in a formidable lineup that also includes Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts.

Verdugo and the Red Sox can be seen in action Sunday, Aug. 2, when they close out a three-game road series against the New York Yankees in a game being televised on ESPN.

Full name: Alexander Brady Verdugo

Birth date: May 15, 1996

Birthplace: Tucson, Ariz.

Height/weight: 6 feet/212 pounds

Teams: Los Angeles Dodgers (2017-19); Boston Red Sox (2020-present)

Position: Right field

Bats/throws: Left/left

No.: 99

Path to majors: Selected in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Dodgers; rose steadily through their system before making his MLB debut on Sept. 1, 2017; dealt with shortstop Jeter Downs and catcher Connor Wong to the Red Sox for outfielder Mookie Betts and starting pitcher David Price on Feb. 10, 2020

Honors and achievements: Dodgers’ Minor League Player of the Year (2015); played for the Mexican national team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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