Ryan Louis Verdugo
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 0", Weight 195 lb.
- Schools Skagit Valley College, Louisiana State University
- High School Lake Stevens High School
- Debut July 17, 2012
A Washington state "Mr. Baseball" as a high schooler, Verdugo was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 43rd round of the 2005 amateur draft. He had fanned 73 in 43 innings as a high school senior. After undergoing Tommy John surgery, he went on to play college ball at Skagit Valley College and had a 7-2, 2.74 record in 2007. He was taken by the San Francisco Giants in the 47th round of the 2007 amateur draft. He did not sign, opting to transfer to Louisiana State University, where he was 9-4 with a 4.12 ERA as a junior. He was second in the Southeastern Conference in wins and was again drafted by the Giants, this time in the 9th round of the 2008 amateur draft. The scout was Andrew Jefferson.
Verdugo made his pro debut with the AZL Giants in 2008 and went 1-0 with two saves and a 2.08 ERA for them, striking out 19 and walking 6 in 13 innings. He also pitched one game for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, with one run in two innings. In 2009, Ryan pitched for the AZL Giants (0 H, 0 R, 6 K in 3 IP) and the Augusta Greenjackets (4-0, 1.39, .170 opponent average, 45 K in 32 1/3 IP). He split 2010 between the Greenjackets (4-1, 2.25, 50 K in 32 IP) and San Jose Giants (4-0, 1.47, 44 K, 19 BB, 15 H in 30 2/3 IP), showing great strikeout rates and ERAs though mediocre control. He was 5th in the affiliated minors in best strikeout rate by a reliever, behind Donnie Joseph, Bryce Stowell, Scott Shuman and Tim Collins. He moved into the rotation with the 2011 Richmond Flying Squirrels and was 8-6 with a 4.35 ERA, fanning 133 and walking 63 in 130 1/3 innings. He tied Austin Adams for third in the Eastern League in walks (behind Casey Crosby and Joel Carreno) and was 5th in strikeouts (between Shairon Martis and Adams).
Following the 2011 season, he was traded along with Jonathan Sanchez to the Royals for Melky Cabrera. After beginning 2012 with the AAA Omaha Storm Chasers, he was called up to the majors in early June when Will Smith was sent down. Only on the Royals' roster for a few days, he was sent back down when Clint Robinson was brought up, without having been used in a game. He was called back up to the Royals on July 17th, ironically to replace the just-released Sanchez, and made his first major league start that evening. At the time, he had a 6-2, 3.58 record for Omaha with a .217 opponent average but 44 walks in 88 innings. Facing the Seattle Mariners, he gave up 6 earned runs over 1 2/3 innings and took the loss. After being hard to hit in the minors, he surrendered eight hits, the big blow being a 3-run double by Kyle Seager. Vin Mazzaro wound up relieving him. He was then sent back to AAA and Francisley Bueno was called up to replace him.