Based off the positions they primarily play, Alex Verdugo will be tasked with replacing Mookie Betts in right field for the Red Sox this season. Seeing how Betts has won four straight Gold Glove Awards for his defensive work at the position, that will surely be no simple task for the former Dodgers top prospect.
Still, even with those lofty expectations placed upon him as the centerpiece for Boston in the trade that sent Betts and David Price to Los Angeles, Verdugo has done well thus far playing one of the toughest right fields in baseball at Fenway Park during the intrasquad games the Red Sox have held since Summer Camp began. His manager, Ron Roenicke, said as much when speaking to reporters via Zoom on Friday.
“He’s replacing a very tough guy in right field and that’s not fair to put on him to carry that kind of load,” Roenicke said of Verdugo. “But I think when this guy gets comfortable and he gets his timing right, I think we’re going to have a really exciting player. I think he’s going to be really good offensively. He runs well. He’ll steal some bases and he’s going to play a very good right field.”
While the expectation is that Verdugo will see the majority of his playing time come at right field with his new team, the 24-year-old has experience playing the other two outfield positions as well. Since making his major-league debut with the Dodgers in September 2017, Verdugo has played 31 games in left, 69 games in center, and 35 games in right.
“I think he’ll do a really good job no matter where we put him,” added Roenicke. “It looks like more right field at this time, but things change.”
Wherever he may play this year, the former second-round draft pick just wants to play everyday.
“For me, I’m an everyday player,” Verdugo said earlier this month. “That’s just that. It’s that simple. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. I want to be out there every single day competing.”