It’s been almost two full seasons that Alex Verdugo has been a member of the Boston Red Sox. The Sox landed the charismatic outfielder in the Mookie Betts to the Dodgers deal prior to the start of last season. Verdugo was the centerpiece of the deal for the Red Sox and he has been making an impact on and off the field.
When the Red Sox acquired Verdugo, he was not replacing Betts and quickly made sure he pointed that out to the Boston media.
“I’m not replacing him,” said Verdugo following a game last August. “Yeah, he played here, but this is a game. This is a business. He decided to go elsewhere. I’m not replacing him. That’s what you guys say. That’s what everybody else says. I’m going out there and playing right field, playing my game.
I think he’s a great player, he did a lot for Boston, and he’s going to do a lot for the Dodgers,” Verdugo said. “I think about me being here and what I’m going to do and bring to the team. It’s not a comparable thing. I don’t like comparing it. I don’t like when people bring it up. Obviously, the nature of the trade, it’s going to happen. People are going to say it. I’m going to go out there. I’m gonna play my game and bring the energy that I bring. That’s how I always have been. I don’t care about shoes to fill or anything like that. I’m playing my game.”
Alex Verdugo impact on and off the field
Verdugo’s first season with the Red Sox was during the pandemic shortened season. He performed at the plate hitting .308 with six home runs and 15 RBIs while slashing .367/.478/.844. This season he has elevated his game offensively, he is hitting .284 with 12 homers and 49 RBIs. Defensively he has been a wizard in the outfield with eight outfield assists while only committing one error.
Fans were able to see Verdugo display is glove numerous times this season. Including a game winning catch in Minnesota. The 25-year-old outfielder made a diving catch in left field to rob Luis Arraez.
— Beyond the Monster: Boston Red Sox (@BeyondtheMnstr) April 14, 2021
The other intangible that makes Verdugo special in Boston is his passion and demeanor off the field. Verdugo has always played with a ton of passion and with his heart on his sleeve. However, an opportunity for him is to harness the emotions to avoid outbursts.
“It’s been the way I’ve been ever since I started playing baseball,” Verdugo said in Kansas City earlier this season. “It’s just that I love the game. I’ve always competed. I’ve always wanted to do my best. And I think with that, I’ve always celebrated the success. With the failure, I’ve just kind of always worn my emotions on my sleeve. You’ve got to learn how to tame it and control some of those angry outbursts.”
Dress like Dugie Day
His impact on his teammates has not gone unnoticed by them as the club is going to celebrate the high-energy outfielder by dressing like him. The team with have a ‘Dress up like Dugie Day’ as they travel to Tampa for a critical four game series with the Rays.
“It’s Dugie’s Day. Alex Verdugo Day. So I decided to get his high school jersey,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said before Sunday’s game as he wore Verdugo’s jersey from Sahuaro High in Tucson, Ariz. “It’s ‘Dress Up Like Dugie Day.’ So there’s a lot of interesting outfits in there.”
Kiké Hernández who was also Verdugo’s teammate with the Dodgers was the mastermind behind the “Dugie Day” idea. Verdugo continues to be a positive impact for Boston and is a big part of the culture in the clubhouse. The young outfitfielder has the the kind of player the Sox need in their team’s DNA.
Alex Verdugo spends time with fans
Besides the fire and passion he brings to the field and the clubhouse, he also gives back to fans. Back when the Sox were in Minnesota, he was videoed talking to fans about hitting.
Not a red sox fan but no cap this shits cool AF. More players should try their best to interact with fans in this way. Alex Verdugo talking about his approach to fans (via Caden white on Facebook) pic.twitter.com/MZf7Nk7TUC
— JoezMcfly🇩🇴 (@JoezMcfLy) April 17, 2021
In a 56 second video originally found on Facebook, Verdugo goes over his approach at the plate for some fans. During the video, one fan talks about doing a toe tap at the plate, Verdugo comments “if a pitcher quick pitches me, I’m already loaded”. He then mimics the toe tap at the plate.
Following games in Boston, Verdugo is routinely seen on social media taking pictures with fans and signing autographs.
As the regular season winds down, Verdugo will be a relied heavily during the postseason. He’ll need to elevate his game at the plate and will be a threat in the outfield. Most importantly he’ll continue to be a key piece in the team’s clubhouse.
“I care about my team, I want to do good, I want to help the team any way I can,” said Verdugo. “So when I do something good, it’s a genuine reaction. I feel good, I feel fired up, I see my boys kind of get fired up. I just feed off them.”
– Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique on Twitter)
Feature image courtesy of Chowders and Champions
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