For the sixth time in his 10 starts for the Red Sox thus far, outfielder Alex Verdugo will be batting out of the seven-hole in Friday’s series opener against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park.
According to manager Ron Roenicke, though, Verdugo’s status as a bottom half of the lineup-type hitter could change quite soon, as the Sox skipper has considered batting the 24-year-old out of the leadoff spot “over the last few days.”
So far this season, fellow left-handed hitting outfielder Andrew Benintendi has primarily served as Boston’s leadoff man, and, as you may already be aware, has struggled in that role. Through his first 39 plate appearances of 2020, the former first-round pick has mustered just two hits, resulting in a dismal .069/.289/.103 slash line.
Even with that in mind, Benintendi is still batting leadoff for the Sox on Friday, but if his struggles do continue, Roenicke did say that he’s “not going to be stubborn and keep (the 26-year-old in the leadoff spot) forever.”
Prior to coming over from the Dodgers in February, only made one start for Los Angeles as a leadoff hitter, which came back on July 27, 2019. In that contest against the Nationals, the Arizona native went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.
On the flip side of that, Verdugo does own a career .291/.345/.555 slash line over 119 plate appearances when leading off an inning.
Roenicke also mentioned that “it doesn’t seem [like] left or right-handers bother” Verdugo, so it would appear that the exuberant outfielder’s reputation as a “reverse splits guy” is here to stay.