Celebration latest punctuation on what has been Alex Verdugo's breakout season


Celebrating this extraordinary MLB season with Ellen Adair

Alex Verdugo was in the spotlight Tuesday night.

The flashing Fenway Park lights. The celebratory hugs from his teammates. They all made sure that Verdugo was going to be the center of attention after he walked-off the Twins with his barely-fair 10th-inning blast down the right field line.

“Stay fair,” Verdugo told reporters when asked his thoughts upon hitting the two-out fly ball. “I knew I made a good swing through it. Instead of hooking it [foul], I kind of brought that slice back to it. It fooled me like three times. I stopped, ran, stopped, ran, stopped. I was like, ‘That ball looks really foul.’ And then just as it went down, it just kept slicing, slicing, slicing, so [it was] just lucky.”

This, however, was punctuation for more than just the 5-4 Red Sox win. This was the latest exclamation point when it came to what is turning out to be Verdugo's breakout season.

The woe-as-us feeling regarding the absence of Mookie Betts likely isn't going anywhere, with the news that he actually might be playing shortstop for the Dodgers the latest round of "Hey, did you see what Mookie did?"

Since joining the Dodgers, Betts has the 10th-best OPS in baseball, while continuing to haul in Gold Gloves. The reality of his existence - that will likely culminate with a ceremony in Cooperstown - should already be cemented.

But what Verdugo has become should soothe the pain more effectively than ever before.

Alex Verdugo spits some truths

In his three previous seasons with the Red Sox, the 26-year-old has been good but not great, totaling a .773 OPS over his stay in Boston. This year, however, he has been arguably the second-most impressive player on the roster.

Once again living life atop the Red Sox lineup, Verdugo's latest 2023 accomplishment came in the form of a three-hit, one-walk game in the series opener. It boosted his batting average to .348 and OPS to .879.

Verdugo has seven multi-hit games, a total he didn't accomplish last season until May 26.

He also rarely swings and misses or chases, both qualities that certainly don't help while setting the stage for the best hitter on the team, Rafael Devers.

Baseball Savant
Baseball Savant Photo credit Baseball Savant

For a team so desperate to find a leadoff hitter, Verdugo has allowed for the Red Sox' anxieties to move on to other elements of the lineup. This is a club that currently possesses the fifth-best on-base percentage in the leadoff spot of any team in baseball.

It is only three weeks into the season, but considering Verdugo's conditioning, approach, and, most importantly, results, the Red Sox fans might be finally getting the player they were promised when asked to stomach that trade with the Dodgers.

This guy Verdugo - who is currently second among all American League outfielders in batting average and ninth in OPS - could actually be the Red Sox other All-Star.

And that would certainly go a long way to numbing the Mookie sting just a bit more ... while actually officially uncovering a much-needed part of the Red Sox foundation.

Featured Image Photo Credit: USA Today Sports