The Royals originally acquired him in 2011 from the Giants as part of the Jonathan Sanchez-Melky Cabrera trade. And except for a cup of coffee in Kansas City in 2012, a couple of brief stints at the lower levels and some time in extended spring training this year (rehabbing from an injury), he has pitched mostly for the Tripe-A Omaha Storm Chasers since being acquired.
Verdugo, 27, was putting together a solid 2014 campaign for the Storm Chasers before being traded, sporting a 5-2 record with a 4.24 ERA in nine starts, winning his last start at home on July 7 against Iowa.
As a writer who loves a good baseball story, I'll be sorry to see him go, because he's always willing to give you one. More on that in a minute.
He's also a great follow on Twitter, as evidenced by these tweets:
Worst part about giving up a homerun to a prospect is you know it's gonna be plastered on the front page of @MiLB for all to see— Ryan Verdugo (@teachmetodugi11) July 8, 2014
He wrote that about giving up a dinger to Cubs prospect Javier Baez in his last start.
And here are a couple of random thoughts:
Only lost 13 golf balls that's a successful day on the course— Ryan Verdugo (@teachmetodugi11) May 12, 2014
There's a dunkin by my apartment but it doesn't have a drive through so I drove to one further away that did..lazy Sunday engaged— Ryan Verdugo (@teachmetodugi11) April 27, 2014
In 2013, I interviewed Verdugo (and numerous others) for the Omaha Storm Chasers souvenir program about players who adhere to baseball superstitions and he didn't disappoint.
He told me that after tossing a good game he noted that he ate Chipotle for lunch the day before, so he began eating Chipotle for lunch the day before every start.
When in doubt of what to eat..just go to Chipotle— Ryan Verdugo (@teachmetodugi11) June 24, 2014
But his superstitions don't end there.
"I had a pre-game tank top I wore on the days I pitched, but I switched that up and now I have a tank top with a panda riding a giraffe," he said.
He says he just wanted a funny pre-game shirt to wear one day so he picked one up and noticed that he started pitching well.
"The luck on that one started running out though, so I got the new one two starts ago, so we'll see how this one goes," he said.
During the game, he also wears a plastic rosary his mom gave him a couple of years ago. He only wears it when he starts.
Verdugo is expected to be assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket, where I'm sure he'll make a beat reporter's job much easier.