Scouting Report: OF, Taylor Dugas

The New York Yankees selected outfielder Taylor Dugas in the eighth round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of the University of Alabama. The all-time career hit leader at Alabama isn't the toolsiest player around and therefore has a limited ceiling but he's also proven to be one of the better hitters around and the epitome of a professional baseball player.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Taylor Dugas
Position: Outfield
DOB: December 15, 1989
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 180
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

He finished his second full season hitting a combined .299 with a career-high seven triples between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton last year.

"I thought it was a successful season," Dugas said. "I definitely learned a lot. It was exciting starting in Trenton and then moving up to Scranton at the halfway point. It was a fun year.

"I enjoyed my time in Trenton and Scranton was great experience playing with a lot of older guys. I was happy I had a consistent year and stayed healthy so overall I was pleased with how it went."

He enjoyed a consistent season because he has proven to be one of the most consistent hitters around. Sporting a career .417 on-base percentage in the minor leagues thus far and walking 29 times more than he's struck out, he continues to prove very capable of making the adjustments at each minor league level.

"I would consider hitting to always be one of my strengths," he noted, "but having to adjust -- the competition between Double-A and Triple-A was very different, a lot of good players. Having good at-bats and making adjustments pitch to pitch and at-bat to at-bat, I feel like I improved in that area.

"Another focus where I feel like I improved was playing all over the outfield, playing in different spots. Two years ago when I started in Charleston that was my first time ever playing right field so it's still fairly new to me and I'm trying to be the best I can at each outfield spot, working during BP each day to get better reads off of the bat. I felt like I got a lot better at it."

A smaller stature player, he has been trying to improve his speed ever since he entered the organization to help give him another aspect to his game. While his stolen base production dipped from the previous season, he continues to do what he can in that regard.

"My speed is fine. It's kind of where it used to be. The thing that you learn at Double-A and Triple-A is the competition is better. The pitchers are quicker to the plate and I definitely noticed in Triple-A that the catchers were extremely good defenders and most of them had a cannon for an arm.

"When a pitcher is quick to the plate he can kind of shut down the running game so it makes it tougher. You don't see a lot of stealing in Triple-A.

"I'm pleased with where my speed is at. This offseason I've been doing a lot of speed work and training to improve my first step and improve my steal breaks. I've got to get better at it, I know that. I'm still working to get better."

He's not a power hitter either though. In fact, his game is where his game is. There doesn't seem like there's a whole lot of need for improvement in his game nor is there a whole lot of room for improvement.

"There's minor adjustments to be made," he reiterated. "One of the things I need to work on is my stride direction. Once I do my leg-kick I need to stay in line with the pitcher and not dive so much into the plate. It gives me more room to turn on the ball and keep the ball fair.

"There's minor things to work on and I've addressed those issues this offseason but I would say for this season coming up staying consistent, that's kind of how I want to play; never get too high, never get too low, just be consistent in what I do, play hard everyday, that's my main focus."

He is not the biggest guy, he is not the strongest guy, nor is he the fastest guy, but it seems like Dugas is always doing a little bit of everything. Even though he doesn't have the big tools he feels he can be one of these guys that can help out at the big league level.

"Yeah absolutely," he said with conviction. "Everything you just said is true, there's no sugar coating it. I'm not a toolsy player and I don't have the tools some of these top prospects have but I just pride myself on being a baseball player.

"I think that gets lost nowadays, everybody puts so much stock into the potential this guy could be and I just go out and play baseball. That's playing hard, getting dirty, hustling on and off the field -- even when you hit a fly ball, running it out the right way, those are things I pride myself on.

"I don't have the tools most other people have but I try to be a consistent baseball player, put good at-bats together, play the game the right way, play good defense, and help the team win, that's number one. I feel like if I stay consistent and keep getting better eventually I feel like I should be able to help out the big league team."

Now Triple-A tested, one in which he passed with flying colors after hitting .305 for Scranton last season, he believes he could help out the big league club as soon as this coming season.

"It's definitely not my call but I feel like I could. You just got to play hard and play the game the right way. You got to do the little things whether it's bunting, hit and run, things like that and that's where I'm pretty confident in my game in doing those things because I've always had to do them to get where I'm at now. I feel like I could help them," he concluded.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2014 Scranton .305 174 5 0 17 17 3 24 30 .394 .356
2014 Trenton .294 177 10 1 23 22 4 23 29 .403 .424
2013 Tampa .321 193 7 1 16 34 7 32 15 .426 .373
2013 Charleston .250 196 8 1 18 32 10 32 24 .384 .306
2012 Staten Island .306 209 9 1 15 38 5 51 35 .465 .373


Batting and Power. Dugas can flat-out hit! He has off the charts plate discipline, superb patience, and even better pitch recognition, and he has above average bat speed with a short, compact, and consistent swing. Throw in an innate knack to use the whole field when he hits, he is as consistent a hitter as there is in all of professional baseball. His power, however, or lack there of, rates as below average. His power is mostly limited to the gaps.

Base Running and Speed. An average runner at best speed-wise, Dugas is a mild stolen base threat on the base paths. He doesn't have the quickest burst and he isn't exactly exceptional at reading pitchers' moves on the mound either. However, as a station to station runner, he is about as heady at they come and can therefore impact the running game in ways other than stealing bases.

Defense. His range in centerfield is average and his arm strength is average [perhaps a tick below average] too, but he is very good at reading the ball coming off of the bat and therefore can make every needed defensive play. He is best suited to play left field in an everyday capacity where he could be an above average defensive player but has the versatility to play all three outfield spots whenever needed.

Projection. With a real knack for hitting and getting on base, tangible defensive versatility in the outfield, very limited power potential, and just enough of a running game to be a mild threat, Dugas best projects as a big league reserve outfielder cut into the mold of a Sam Fuld type. While he doesn't have a very big ceiling due to the limited tools, that's his floor. He should absolutely find a career for himself as a bench player at the big league level at minimum, especially given his high makeup. He is a better hitter than Fuld, however, and some big league managers might find it tough to not play him more and more simply because he gives a good at-bat every time so it would not be surprising to see some years where he gets a lot of playing time as a result.

ETA. 2015. Dugas' game is big league ready right now. He's most likely ticketed to return to Triple-A Scranton to begin the 2015 season but he will be on the short list of potential outfield candidates on the big league team should the need arise.


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