Red Sox

McAdam: Verudgo stands out in an otherwise disappointing season

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Very little has gone right for the Red Sox in 2020 -- as demonstrated by their record and place in the standings.

Their pitching has been the worst in the game. Their most reliable run-producer has had his worst season ever. The bullpen, tasked with providing the most innings in either league, has been found wanting.

But one positive development can't be ignored: the play of Alex Verdugo.

Acquired in February as the centerpiece of the five-player blockbuster with the Dodgers that cost the Sox both Mookie Betts and David Price, Verdugo has performed like an All-Star and stands as one of the season's few bright spots.

With just over two weeks remaining in a forgettable year, Verdugo entered the weekend with highest OPS (.887) among qualifying regulars. He also led the team in hits, runs and doubles, as well as OPS+. He led all of baseball in outfield assists and splitting his time almost equally between left field and right field, has been a well above-average defender no matter where he plays.

After some initial reservations, he's even taken to the leadoff spot -- something he had done very little of prior to his arrival in Boston -- with a .377 on-base percentage.

With Mitch Moreland traded and Rafael Devers limited by a poor first month, a case could be made that Verdugo has been both the most consistent and best everyday Red Sox player. Only Xander Bogaerts could provide him with competition.

"I really like this guy,'' gushed Ron Roenicke. "I think he's going to be a really nice player.''

In truth, the numbers only tell a part of the story.