Los Angeles

The Prize Prospect the Dodgers Kept at the Trade Deadline

The Dodgers made a flurry of moves at the trade deadline, moving five top prospects on Aug. 1, but it was the player they didn't trade that we should be talking about.

The Dodgers made a handful of moves at the trade deadline, most notably acquiring outfielder Josh Reddick and pitcher Rich Hill from the Oakland Athletics, but it was a player they kept that may make a lasting impression on Los Angeles. 

In total, the Dodgers traded away five minor league prospects on Aug 1st in a flurry of moves to grab Reddick, Hill, Jesse Chavez and Josh Fields in a mad dash to win the National League West.

The team traded away their three top prospects in Grant Homes (No.3), Jharel Cotton (No. 16) and Frankie Montas (No. 9) according to David Hood. In addition, they sent Mike Bolsinger (a top prospect in 2015) and Yordan Alvarez (No. 17 prospect in Cuba).

That's a lot of potential talent that is no longer under the watchful eye of Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers front office. But, it was a prospect they kept that could keep the Dodgers competitive for years to come.

Alex Verdugo, currently the team's No. 2 ranked prospect, and perennial Texas League Player of the week, is having the season of his life at Double-A Tulsa for the Dodgers this season.

The left-handed outfielder is batting .271 this season with 11 home runs and 56 RBI with the Drillers and was ranked the No. 44 prospect in all the Major Leagues by Baseball America at the midseason mark.

"Compacted left-handed swing, has movements that tend more toward hit over power and 20-year-old has .150 ISO in Double-A," is how the publication described Verdugo.

One of the most surprising things about this rising star for the Dodgers, is for the entirety of his baseball career before he was drafted by L.A. in 2014, he was a pitcher, not a hitter.

Verdugo was selected by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of high school in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to excitement, Verdugo was shocked when he got the phone call telling him he was going to be a Dodger, that's because they told him they wanted him to play centerfield.

"I was kind of taken aback," Verdugo told MiLB.com. "I was like 'What centerfielder?' I always thought I was going to be a pitcher, but they said hitter and I said 'Absolutely.'"

Verdugo was a pitcher in little league all the way through high school, but the Dodgers saw something in his compacted swing when he was at the plate that they loved.

Like most players in high school, Verdugo pitched every fifth day and played the outfield the other on days he wasn't on the mound. Verdugo was a highly touted prospect as a pitcher, as his fastball topped out at 97 MPH.

"I could've definitely pitched well," Verdugo said. "But I wanted to help the team every day rather than pitching once every five. The arm is still there, I just use it in the outfield now."

In his first full season at the Double-A level as an every day outfielder, Verduo was named to the Texas League All-Star team at the ripe young age of 20-years old. He's ranked third in the league in hitting and is posting career highs across the board.

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