With A.J. Pollock hurt, Alex Verdugo should get his chance to shine

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

I am inevitable. Whoops, sorry. Still have Endgame on my mind.

But speaking of inevitability, A.J. Pollock is about to go on the injured list for the first time as a Dodger. For a guy who has averaged 112.5 games played over the last two seasons, 79 the last three seasons and 101 in his six full seasons, this shouldn’t be surprising. He’s no Iron Man. What’s more concerning is that he has an infection in his elbow that required surgery back in 2016. That’s … not good.

On the field, though, having Pollock out might end up being beneficial.

Alex Verdugo‘s full-time spot was taken when the Dodgers signed Pollock and Joc Pederson reminded folks that he’s actually really good at baseball. Despite inconsistent playing time, Verdugo is off to a great start in 2019 (157 wRC+). With Pollock possibly out for awhile, this is Verdugo’s chance to impress.

Something somewhat concerning is the fact Dave Roberts pinch-hit for Verdugo in last night’s ninth inning for Chris Taylor, despite Verdugo being 4-for-11 with a home run off left-handed pitching this season (and a career .318/.376/.434 batting line against them in the minors). If Pollock’s injury opens up more time for a struggling Taylor rather than a thriving Verdugo, that’d be a problem. Taylor’s struggles early this season are similar to Pollock’s. Both are not producing (65 wRC+ for Pollock, 43 for Taylor) and Taylor’s plate discipline numbers are trending the wrong direction. Maybe more playing time would help get him out of his funk, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of expanded playing time for Verdugo.

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We’ll see how the Dodgers handle this situation. Verdugo and/or Taylor are likely to benefit from more playing time, while there could be a minor-leaguer about to make his MLB debut (Matt Beaty, Edwin Rios).

Depth and versatility have been hallmarks for the Dodgers in the Andrew Friedman era. Right now, though, it’d be best to give Verdugo the lion’s share of the playing time and let Taylor attempt to figure things out one way or another.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.