It doesn’t appear as though Alex Verdugo will factor into the Dodgers’ October run, as manager Dave Roberts told The Athletic’s Pedro Moura (Twitter links) and other reporters that “to see him ready at all this postseason [is] very unlikely.” Verdugo himself said that he is still hoping to be available for the World Series, though while he has begun conditioning exercises, he has yet to begin swinging a bat.
Verdugo hasn’t played since August 4 due to a right oblique strain, and he was also hampered by a back issue that developed when the outfielder was on a rehab assignment. Given such a long layoff, it would be difficult to imagine the Dodgers immediately throwing the rookie into the cauldron of World Series play, especially if Verdugo is still at less than 100 percent.
It’s a tribute to the Dodgers’ depth that they have enough outfield options to make do without Verdugo, though the 23-year-old is still missed given how well he played in his first extended taste of Major League action. Long a highly-touted prospect, Verdugo hit .294/.342/.475 with 12 home runs over 377 plate appearances in 2019, continuing the solid contact skills he displayed in the minors by posting only a 13 percent strikeout rate. Beyond his hitting prowess, Verdugo also displayed some strong glovework at all three outfield positions, with a cumulative +7.1 UZR/150 and +13 Defensive Runs Saved over 756 innings on the grass.
Rookie Matt Beaty, another left-handed hitter, may have been the prime beneficiary of Verdugo’s absence, as Beaty was named to the Dodgers’ NLDS roster against the Nationals. Neither Beaty or Joc Pederson, however, were at all productive against left-handed pitching, whereas Verdugo was actually a bit better against lefties (.327/.358/.485 in 109 PA) than against righties (.281/.336/.471 in 268 PA).