Los Angeles Dodgers outfield prospect Alex Verdugo is finishing the 2015 minor league season on an up-note. In his last 10 games he is hitting .417 for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in the High-A California League. In 23 total games since being promoted to this level he's hitting a robust .385/.406/.659 with four homers, four walks, and 12 strikeouts in 91 at-bats.
Verdugo opened 2015 with the Great Lakes Loons in the Low-A Midwest League, hitting .295/.325/.394 in 421 at-bats, collecting five homers and 13 steals. He didn't draw many walks, just 17, but his strikeout rate was notably low with just 53 whiffs and his overall performance was quite solid especially given his age (just 19).
A second round pick in 2014 from high school in Tucson, Arizona, Verdugo was seen as a pitching prospect by many clubs but the Dodgers preferred his athleticism in the every day lineup. He was supposed to be rather raw as a hitter when drafted but he put the lie to that by hitting .347/.423/.518 in the Pioneer League last summer, then maintaining the momentum this year. He's now played 172 professional games with a total line of .322/.363/.460 with 47 doubles, 12 homers, and 25 stolen bases.
The numbers back up the scouting reports of a player with broad tools and quickly-developing skills. The main questions at this point: how will the power play at the highest levels, and will his aggressive approach hinder his production as he moves up? I am optimistic that the power will play. As for his approach, it hasn't been a problem yet and while he may never draw many walks, the fact that he keeps his strikeouts under control is a good marker.