Top Prospect #22: Marc Tugwell

Coming into 2005, Marc Tugwell had played third base and a little second base in the Phillies' organization. Then, he learned how to catch and play first base. The new positions make him one of the more versatile players in the system and solid offensive numbers at Clearwater certainly don't hurt his cause.

Marc Tugwell was in a tough spot when the 2003 Draft rolled around. He had put up good, but not overpowering numbers at Virginia Tech, but he had no college eligibility left, which meant he had to take the hand that would be dealt to him in the draft. It wasn't until the 22nd round that the Phillies grabbed Tugwell and at the time, he was simply thought to be an organizational filler type of player. He played primarily at second base in college and even held the Virginia Tech record for career putouts and assists as a second baseman. The Phillies had instant plans for him to play some third base and future plans for him to expand his versatility.

In his first two seasons, Tugwell played 54 games at second and 56 games at third. That all changed in 2005 when he was with Clearwater and 54 games at third, but added 43 games behind the plate and another nine games at first base. Defensively, he handled the move to catcher well and that, combined with the other positions that he can play make him a valuable player to have in the organization. It makes a lot of sense, since Tugwell would likely be blocked at all of those positions by other players, but by playing all of them, he can maneuver himself to where he's needed and make a spot for himself.

'03 Batavia 1 20 .248 28 121 13 30 6 1 3 3 27 .278
'03 Lakewood 0 5 .213 27 80 7 17 7 0 0 4 23 .267
'04 Lakewood 5 33 .286 56 203 27 58 19 0 2 13 30 .333
'04 GCL 1 3 .200 6 20 3 4 0 0 1 1 3 .333
'05 Clearwater 7 43 .295 110 383 52 113 21 0 2 29 57 .358
Career 14 104 .275 227 807 102 319 53 1 8 50 140 .331

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 22nd round of the 2003 Draft out of Virginia Tech.

Batting and Power: In college, Tugwell displayed occasional power, but nothing to make anybody drool over. What he did show were stats that improved with each season, culminating in a senior season where he hit .398 with 8 homeruns and 58 RBI. In his minor league career, Tugwell has struck out once every 5.8 at bats, but over the past couple seasons, he's improved that to once every 6.8 at bats. He doesn't walk much, but since he doesn't strike out too often, there's not too much concern about his walks. After all, there's nothing wrong with a guy who generally puts the bat on the ball when he's at the plate. Tugwell also isn't afraid to take pitches the opposite way and drive them into right field. Tugwell also hits both left-handers and right-handers well.

Baserunning and Speed: While he doesn't have a lot of speed, Tugwell would be considered slightly above average in the speed department. In college, he had a good stolen base percentage of 76% (29-for-38) and is smart on the basepaths. No matter what he does, Tugwell's style can only be described as aggressive and he's always going to be looking to take an extra base or turn a single into a double if he has the chance. The best part about his aggressiveness is that he's not careless. Tugwell has a good command of where the game is at and knows when to be aggressive and when not to be.

Defense: Defensively, Tugwell put up strong numbers at both third base and second base. The real surprise was how well he handled moving behind the plate in 2005. He posted a .989 fielding percentage as a catcher and had 12 passed balls in 43 games. The Phillies can now put Tugwell at four different positions without worrying that his defense will hurt them. It will be interesting to see if he learns to play any outfield.

Projection: It's likely that Tugwell will start 2006 at Reading. The R-Phils should have a pretty decent club this year and it will be interesting to see how they have Tugwell fitting in. It's not likely that he would be catching, since Jason Jaramillo is also ticketed for Reading, which may tempt the Phillies to keep Tugwell at Clearwater, with Lou Marson handling the catching at Lakewood. It's going to be an interesting decision that may come down to where Tugwell deserves to play (Reading) and where the Phillies may need him to play (Clearwater). Since the Phillies don't really plan on him being a full-time catcher at the major league level, a move to Reading and a season with Tugwell playing all over would make more sense than a return to Clearwater. It's likely that Tugwell has the talent to reach the majors, but it's also likely that he'll have to be a jack-of-all-trades to get there.

ETA: Certainly, a lot depends on where the Phillies place Tugwell in 2006. He should be getting some mention for a major league job by the spring of 2008 though if all goes well. By 2009, you would have to think that he would be pushing for at least a utility job with the big league club.

Comparison: Remember when Joe McEwing was a super-sub for the Mets. That's the kind of player that Tugwell figures to be. Hopefully, he'll have more longevity than McEwing had though. Early in his career, McEwing was a valuable player for the Mets and played all over for them, giving them a true utility guy who was able to get a decent amount of at bats because of his versatility.


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