Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 57 of 286. Stay tuned.
Robert Lee Dugger is a 6’2″, 180 lb. right-handed pitcher from Tucson, Arizona. Born on July 3rd, 1995, he was chosen in the 18th round of the 2016 MLB Amateur Entry Draft, with the 537th overall selection out of Texas Tech University. Dugger went 6-1 with a 2.67 ERA in his final season with the Red Raiders, striking out 54 batters in 60 2/3 innings.
Eight players chosen with the 537th overall choice have gone on to play in the major leagues. Chief amongst them are Mark Johnson (1990, Pittsburgh Pirates, 0.5 career WAR), Yency Almonte (2012, Anaheim Angels, 0.4 WAR), and Kim Seaman (1975, Houston Astros, 0.3 WAR). You can follow Dugger on Twitter @robert_dugger.
After the draft, Dugger signed with the Mariners for a $70,000 bonus, and reported to the Arizona Mariners, in the rookie-level Arizona League. After striking out nine in 8 2/3 innings, and allowing only one run on six hits, he was pushed up a level to the Everett Aqua Sox, in the low-A Northwest League. In six starts, there, he went 2-1 with a 5.47 ERA and 25 K’s in 26 frames.
2017 would see Dugger split his campaign between the single-A Clinton LumberKings in the Midwest League and the Modesto Nuts in the high-A California League. All told, he went 6-6 with a solid 2.75 ERA over his 18 starts and 13 trips out of the bullpen. He whiffed 116 in 117 2/3 innings, with a 1.16 WHIP. For his efforts, he was named to the Midwest League midseason all-star team.
Dugger made seven starts at high-A for the Florida State League’s Jupiter Hammerheads, going 3-1 with a 2.40 ERA, 34 K’s in 41 1/3 innings, and a 1.14 WHIP. His best performance for them was on April 29th, when he tossed seven innings and allowed one run on three hits while striking out four in a 2-1 victory over the Bradenton Marauders.
Dugger is currently the #22 prospect in the Miami Marlins system. According to MLB Pipeline:
"Dugger pitches with both a four- and two-seam fastball, the latter of which sits at 92-93 mph, at times a few ticks higher, with late arm-side life that nets him a lot of weak contact. His slider and changeup receive average grades from evaluators, with many preferring the latter to the former given how it plays off of his heater. Dugger also has feel for a curveball in the upper 70s, though it serves as more a change-of-pace offering as opposed to a swing-and-miss, put-away pitch. He throws strikes with all four pitches, albeit with command that leaves something to be desired."
Dugger’s first look in the Marlins system was solid enough to get called up a level, to the double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, in the Southern League. Despite not pitching for the Hammerheads after mid-May, he was named to the FSL midseason all-star team.
Dugger maintained a spot in the Shrimp rotation through the entire season, starting 18 times and going 7-6 with a 3.79 record for a mostly losing team. His strikeout numbers were again strong, with a club-second 107 in 109 1/3 innings along with a 1.24 WHIP.
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Dugger went on a tear from July 30th through the end of the season, allowing just 26 hits in 49 1/3 innings, with 52 strikeouts and only 10 walks allowed. During that seven-game stretch, he limited opposing hitters to a .156/.211/.263 slashline, throwing 66 percent of his 665 pitches over the plate. His final start of the year was his best, when he threw seven shutout one-hit innings and struck out nine Braves in a 1-0 win over Mississippi.
Of the 36 right-handed starters currently in the Miami Marlins system, Dugger is currently listed as 13th, per baseball-reference.com. He’s more likely around 10th, after Tyler Cloyd was granted free agency and other developments are likely to occur. He’s not a lock to make the Marlins out of Spring Training, although he may compete for a spot with a strong showing. It’s more likely he’ll be amongst the September callups when that time comes.
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