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Draft Focus: Alex Verdugo

Draft : : Prospect Scouting Reports
David Rawnsley        
Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014

Every weekday leading up to the 2014 MLB Draft, Perfect Game will be providing a scouting profile on a notable draft-eligible prospect.  Stay tuned to Perfect Game and be sure to visit the Draft Page for all of the latest info and reports pertaining to the draft.

Alex Verdugo Perfect Game profile

Position:  OF/LHP
Height:  6-1
Weight:  200
Bats/Throws:  L-L
Birthdate:  May 15, 1996
High School:  Sahuaro
City, State:  Tucson, Ariz.
Travel Team:  Prospects National Team
Commitment:  Arizona State
Projected Draft Round:  1

The thought first struck me over two decades ago, why wouldn’t a professional team take a player with legitimate two-way talent as a hitter and lefthanded pitcher and develop him on both sides of the ball? Players like Mark Kotsay, John Olerud and Todd Helton were entering pro ball as position players after extremely successful college careers on the mound and there was never any thought to letting them continue to pitch in a reduced role.

It seemed like a waste of a potential asset.

Over the last two decades most Major League pitching staffs have become even more and more specialized than they were in early 1990s. The term LOOGY was coined by long-time analyst John Sickels and stands for “Lefty One Out Guy” with Jesse Orosco being the ultimate example of the breed. It doesn’t hurt the popularity of the LOOGY role that the St. Louis Cardinals often had a 13-man pitching staff last year with a pair of LOOGYs in young fireballer Reid Siegrist and older soft tosser Randy Choate. Success breeds imitation.

It should be noted that wondering why a team doesn’t dual develop a righthanded thrower doesn’t enter into the equation. I wouldn’t expect Nicholas Gordon or Michael Gettys, to cite two very talented righthanded throwing two-way prospects in the 2014 class, to be developed on both sides of the ball. There just isn’t the perceived need for specialty righthanded relievers at the Major League level as there is for southpaws.

Not every lefthanded throwing dual position prospect is an ideal candidate. For instance, 2013 Red Sox first round pick Trey Ball would not have been a candidate, in my opinion, as he was neither physically mature nor polished enough on the mound to fully develop as a pitcher without extensive innings that wouldn’t be available if he was a full-time center fielder.

Which brings us to Arizona high school two-way standout Alex Verdugo.

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