Dugan hoping to be an x-factor in 2015

Once general wrangling this off-season ends over who should be in the top few spots on Phillies prospects lists, there will be plenty of interesting discussion about some of the guys who may show up in the middle of the pack on a top-20 or top-30 list.

One such interesting case will be Kelly Dugan, who, when healthy, put together a nice season in 2014. It’s easy to feel bad for Dugan, who, at 24, was hoping to put together a full campaign. In the end, Dugan appeared in just 76 games and had only 253 at-bats. It was a stark contrast from his 2013, when he had 429 at-bats.

Dugan’s 2013 was marked by a standout period in Clearwater (.318/.401/.539) and a decent enough stint in Reading (.264/.299/.472). Of course, at 22, Hi-A ball should not have been too troubling for Dugan, so the promotion to Reading was a bit of a test to see if he was ready.

The numbers were strong in 2014 for Dugan, as he hit .296/.383/.435. The trouble? Staying on the field. An oblique injury sidelined him for about two months, and a broken foot caused him to miss the tail end of the season.

That said, there was a point where Dugan finally looked like the alpha dog that he should look like on a AA team. It’s likely that Dugan will never be an All-Star or punch a ticket to Cooperstown, but there is a realistic opportunity for Dugan with the Phillies.

There will be a chance for Dugan to impress, simply due to the current makeup of the team’s outfield. Domonic Brown is coming off a rough season. Ben Revere is likely cemented in center field, but anything could happen with him. Marlon Byrd could be the talk of the trade deadline again if the Phillies are out of the race next year.

That could open a door for Dugan. If he’s healthy and plays well to begin 2015 in the Minors, he’ll be on the Phillies’ radar. Ideally, Dugan is a fourth outfielder on a good team. There is plenty of use out there for the Nate Schierholtzes and Gerardo Parras of the world. That type of guy is valuable.

Dugan has hit both lefties and righties well in the Minors, a trait that not a lot of younger guys like him have developed. He has a career minor league OPS of .833 against lefties (as a lefty, there was a short time he tried switch-hitting), and an .854 OPS against righties.

He took advantage of Reading playing as a hitter’s park, and that would probably continue if he starts there again next year. If he is told to start at Lehigh Valley, it would be a case of the Phillies showing some faith in a player despite prior injury.

Maybe that’s just the news Dugan would like to hear next spring in Clearwater.

17 thoughts on “Dugan hoping to be an x-factor in 2015

  1. It would appear Dugan and, I will even say Altherr are future 4ths,
    They both are above average defensively, and I would not be opposed if both split some time, between them, in Philly next season.
    Do not see any reason why it would hurt their long-term development, especially at their current age.
    Thanks Vic for the report.

  2. Great write-up and I agree. Odds are that he won’t be a regular in the big leagues, but there’s more than an outside chance that he establishes himself as a regular and a pretty fair major leaguer. Dugan has good size, good plate discipline, growing power, some speed, and is fair in the field. We could wake up one day and find Kelly Dugan as a nice starting option or a very solid platoon bat. I’m a fan.

  3. Out of all the OF’s in the system I think Dugan is the safest bet to make the bigs in some capacity. I’m not saying he has the highest ceiling but I’d bet anything he’s playing in the majors as a 4th OF at least. That is , of course, if he can stay healthy. Unlike some others on here I’m not completely ready to say he can’t be a regular at some point as well.

  4. Good discussion on an interesting subject. Dugan’s minor lg career has him making steady progress despite his all-too-frequent injury history. It is unusual that the injury bugs have remained at his side throughout his pro career.

    Hopes about his usefulness to the franchise will have to be tempered by this tendency. Yet, his progress against these odds should tell us something about his character; if character aids success in this super competitive arena, his ultimate success should be enhanced.

    At age 24, given his ABs as limited by above factors, there is yet room for further development. In all, he is likely to continue success at LV (we hope) and move up to Philly some time in ’15. There are many MLB worthies who grew further into their ultimate fine play during MLB play. I see Dugan as one of those.

    1. I think on a bad team dugan could play, he is perfect , lacks power, okay defense, not fast, injury prone, and this is best of what we got at 25 yrs old next season and still in double a,just shows how bad the system is and amaro keeps his job, amazing

      1. Actually, it shows how the system had all of its top prospects traded a few years ago when the team aquired all stars and hall of famers to boost the roster. The next 2-3 waves look quite promising.

        1. Depends upon how you define quite promising. I think a fair ranking of our farm puts it a nidge below average, perhaps a rank of 16-18 among the 30 MLB organizations. I think the Phillies brass shares this view. If they thought they had a superior farm with 2-3 waves of plus prospects coming through the farm system, then they would not have just fired Wolever and our minor league pitching coordinator. We’ve had a problem on the scouting side and on the development side. Jordan has taken steps to improve the development side and has now made another, which I must applaud, given how many of our pitching prospects have imploded under our prior minor league pitching coordinator. Now Gillick is acting to fix the scouting problem. There have been a large number of very baffling primo draft picks made under Wolever’s management. That and the lost draft picks, lack of comp picks, and traded prospects are why the farm currently is very pedestrian in quality.

    2. Dugan over 6 seasons has over 1700 MiLB PAs….that’s more then the normal minor league experience, even with the interuptions.

  5. Just read in the Eastern League chat on BA that Dugan hits with a switch-grip. First I’ve heard of this. Can anyone that has seen him confirm?

    1. What is a switch-grip?
      Is it a switch-hitters grip or what they use to call ‘cross-hand’ or is it one where the proximal interphalangeal joints (knuckles in the middle of the finger) are lined up in sequence?

      1. That’s a good question- I’m really not sure. Here’s the quote from the chat:
        Josh Norris: Solid enough reviews. Average or better tools across the board, but no one standout tool. Also noted that he hits with a switch-grip at the plate, which is definitely out of the ordinary. If everything clicks, he could be a starter, but his more likely role is as a backup.

      2. Good question- I really don’t know. Here’s the quote from the chat:

        Josh Norris: Solid enough reviews. Average or better tools across the board, but no one standout tool. Also noted that he hits with a switch-grip at the plate, which is definitely out of the ordinary. If everything clicks, he could be a starter, but his more likely role is as a backup.

    1. He’d better. He’s got parts of two seasons in AA, so there is no value in going back to Reading. He really didn’t do nearly well enough at Reading either year to stand out as a guy who is ready to skip AAA and go straight to the major leagues. He should get close to a full-season at AAA. If he is tearing the league apart in Allentown, then he can come up to the Phillies at the all-star break. An .818 OPS at Reading is good, but not good enough that it screams “I’m ready to be an MLB corner OF today”. He’s not a CF, apart from emergency fill-in.”

    2. If he’s healthy and breaks camp with a decent enough spring, I don’t see any need to send him back to AA. Challenge him a bit in a bigger park in LHV and see what he can do.

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