Yankees’ potential one-and-done outfielder has been a major positive

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The Yankees have several key players approaching free agency in 2025, including Juan Soto, Gleyber Torres, Clay Holmes, and Alex Verdugo. While Soto has captured most headlines with his stellar performance early in the 2024 season, the contributions of Alex Verdugo, a 27-year-old outfielder, have flown somewhat under the radar following a challenging start.

As of April 8, Verdugo was batting .211 with a .295 on-base percentage and an 83 wRC+, making him more of a liability than a solution. However, his performance has significantly improved over the past two weeks.

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The Yankees Are Getting Max Value From Alex Verdugo

In his last 13 games, Verdugo has hit .357/.449/.571, amassing 15 hits, 10 runs, and four RBIs across 49 plate appearances. His 201 wRC+ suggests he is performing 101% better than the average MLB hitter, boasting a 12.2% strike rate and an equally impressive 12.2% walk rate. He ranks in the 99th percentile in strikeout rate and the 97th percentile in whiff rate.

Although his hard-hit metrics are not particularly noteworthy, he has consistently reached base and has maintained his batting average within his career norms.

Verdugo’s hard-hit rate stands at 27.1%, a decrease of 10% from 2023, and his barrel rate is at a career-low 2.9%. Despite these figures, he is increasingly getting a feel for the ball as the season progresses, proving to be a valuable asset in the lower half of the batting order—a role the Yankees sorely needed last season.

Defensively, Verdugo has maintained a perfect fielding percentage in left field, with two defensive runs saved and one out above average. He has made several impressive catches.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees
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Verdugo, who was acquired in exchange for several pitchers, has proven to be a significant upgrade over last season’s rotating outfielders—Billy McKinney, Jake Bauers, Aaron Hicks, and Oswaldo Cabrera. However, with the Yankees focused on extending Soto with a substantial contract, Verdugo and Torres might be considered expendable.

Verdugo is making $8.7 million in his final year of arbitration and could command over $15 million per season on the open market, particularly if he continues to post strong offensive and defensive numbers.

Thankfully, the Yankees have promising young talents like Jasson Dominguez and Spencer Jones ready to step up at a much lower cost. This transition will enable the front office to allocate substantial resources toward securing Soto’s long-term deal, potentially letting Verdugo and Torres walk in the process.

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