Any New York Yankees fan that knows about the Baby Bombers brewing in the system, knows that the Trenton Thunder are the team to watch. Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Eric Jagielo, Gary Sanchez, Gregory Bird, and Jake Cave are all big time names that will one day don pinstripes. But biding his time on the bench ready to do what he is asked of is Taylor Dugas.
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Paul Franklin recently wrote about Dugas in NJ.com, how he has somewhat become the forgotten man in the Yankees’ organization. I personally saw Dugas play last season in Gwinnett, and he was a great player to watch. When I saw Dugas, he was amid a modest 6-game hitting streak, and would wind up hitting in 10 of 11 games. He showed all out hustle in the outfield and was very welcoming to the out of town fans, waving and even hugging some familiar faces.
All Dugas has done since being drafted in the 8th round of the 2012 draft is hit. He earned Mid-Season All Star honors in his rookie season in the New York Penn League, where he would impress by batting .306 his debut year. While he will never be a team’s cleanup hitter, Dugas has become a perennial .300 hitter, with uncanny play discipline which allows for on base percentages that regularly climb right around the .400 mark.
Dugas has also been solid in the outfield over his short three year career. He has had more outfield assists (14) than errors (10) over the course of his tenure, and although not the fastest man alive, he possesses enough speed to cover a lot of ground. He has also shown the versatility to play all three outfield positions very well.
The 25-year old made his Scranton/Wilkes-Barre debut last season and it couldn’t have gone better. Dugas slashed .305/.394/.356. He showed his plate discipline transferred to the higher levels as he struck out just 30 times while walking 24, nearly identical numbers. While he didn’t get that first career Triple-A home run, he was able to drive in 17 runs in his short debut.
Now, Dugas is back in Double-A. Not only has he been given the early season demotion, he has hardly been playing, only appearing in three games thus far (although he did miss three games with illness). As the Yankees farm system has grown with future superstars in the making, Dugas has somewhat become the forgotten man.
"“It’s not that difficult,” Dugas told Franklin. “You still have to come out and perform and play. Obviously I would like to be higher up, but we have a great coaching staff, a great team, and that’s helps, too. There’s a lot of good guys to be around. It’s a fun atmosphere.“Maybe I was taken a little off guard. But they always tell us not to assume anything. I had a good spring training, but this is my role, and I’m trying to make the best of it.“You kind of let it play out and see what happens, and so, here I am again.’’"
Clearly, Dugas not only has the hustle and will to play, he has the right attitude. While his road may be a little longer than that of Judge or even Ramon Flores to the Bronx, Dugas looks like he is part of the Yankees’ system. And a welcomed part at that.
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