Offseason Prospect Overview: Luis Verdugo

luisverdugo1Season Review

luisverdugo

The Cubs highest profile IFA signing in the 2017. Luis Verdugo arrived from Mexico with reputation as one of the top defensive shortstops in the class. The Cubs had to expect he would struggle a bit offensively considering how raw he was but they thought enough of his maturity to keep him up in Mesa as a 17-year old rather than send him down to the more age appropriate DSL. Verdugo did indeed fail to produce much at the plate during the season, but he also got better as the year went along, with the final month being his best by far.

Positives

I can only go off scouting reports from others but Verdugo receives high marks for the actions of his feet and hands at shortstop. His arm is also considered plus. He obviously didn't hit much in his first year, but Verdugo is considered a hard worker with plenty of baseball smarts, so there doesn't seem to be much doubt that Verdugo will make adjustments at the plate as he matures. It is also important to remember that most players his age spend the year in the DSL. He looks like he could add some bulk and get considerably stronger in the coming years so I would expect Verdugo to easily hit double digits home runs and potentially even reach as high as twenty. He's got a ways to go before being ready for that kind of production though.

Negatives

It is clear from his numbers that Verdugo is still extremely raw offensively. Judging from the snippets of video I've seen it is clear Verdugo has good bat speed, but his load and swing are not very efficient right now. I expect it will take some time for him to make the proper adjustments.

Summation

Scouts do not seem to doubt Verdugo's hands or arm. I am curious to check out his range considering his speed is not considered fringe average already. It seems possible to me he could outgrow the position, but Addison Russell was similarly built at this age and he managed to maintain enough range thanks to good reads and a quick first step. It is something to keep an eye on though, because if he is forced to third base it means Verdugo will need to reach his full offensive potential.

2019 Outlook

There will be a lot of competition for the infield jobs in Eugene next season. Not only could 19-year old shortstop Luis Vazquez repeat the level but so could 20-year old shortstop/third baseman Christopher Morel and 20-year old second baseman Luis Diaz. All three struggled to hit as teenagers in the NWL, with Morel and Diaz eventually returned to Mesa to finish the year, so the Cubs may ask them prove themselves there before considering them for full-season ball.

If there are any open roster spots beyond those three, Verdugo's Cubs2 teammate Reivaj Garcia, as well as the Cubs1 squad's starting shortstop Josue Huma, are both coming off better offensive seasons so it could be an uphill battle for Verdugo. Outside of Morel, Verdugo is considered to have the highest ceiling of the bunch, so if he manages to show improvements at the plate during extended spring training the Cubs would figure to give him priority. But given the way the teenaged trio struggled last season, repeating in the AZL level wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for the 19-year old Verdugo.

Comments

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  • The younger might be the better.
    We have many very young pospects

  • Lots of middle infielders.

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    In reply to Hagsag:

    Obviously most of them will have to be traded. Afterall, you can only have 1 SS and 1 2B at a time. So, the conversation starts now: Which one do we trade and which TOR starter do we demand in return. Go.

    Man, it feels like 2014 again! LOL

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Well, maybe. Since middle infielders are generally also the most athletic players, some may find their way to other positions as they develop. CF is usually a transition point, but those that develop some pop in the bat could end up in a corner OF spot, 3b or 1b. With managers utilizing a full roster, utility roles are in demand. When it comes to trades, it's gotta be difficult to access the players future value to the organization vs. the offer from another team. Unless someone offers that TOR starter for one of a dozen light hitting utility infielders in the system!

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    Somehow these "problems" usually sort themselves out.

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