Dodgers: Three players that can win LA’s third straight Rookie of the Year

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Alex Verdugo (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Alex Verdugo (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

1. OF Alex Verdugo

Alex Verdugo was among many September call-ups last season. After becoming the number one hitting prospect once Cody Bellinger left and the biggest producer for AAA Oklahoma City, Verdugo’s expectations were skyrocketed. Plus, the Dodgers avoided to trade Verdugo for the likes of Yu Darvish, the kid must have been something special.

It is safe to say that Verdugo did not have the September he would have liked. Verdugo stepped up to the plate 25 times. In that span, he walked twice, had four hits and slugged his first career home run — a solo shot that gave him his only RBI. Although a .174 batting average is not easy on the eyes, striking out only four times in 25 at-bats as a rookie is promising.

That is because of the sweet left-handed stroke that Verdugo possesses. Verdugo can have surprising power at times, but his swing is manufactured to hit gap-to-gap. He is not particularly fast, but he is not slow either. With a strong throwing arm, Verdugo can naturally play any outfield position the Dodgers need.

With the Dodgers declining Andre Either’s option next season there may be a roster spot opening up. Although Andrew Toles is coming back from injury, Chase Utley likely is on his way out as well. Either way, it will become a Spring Training battle for Verdugo to make the roster.

With a .314 batting average in AAA last season, it is hard to ignore Verdugo’s bat much longer. With the Dodgers now set to take on the Padres in Mexico in early May, the Mexican National Team member may get his shot to shine. Once the Dodgers get a taste of that swing, it is going to be hard to send him back down.