Miami Marlins Prospect Watch: Robert Dugger Making a Strong Case

JUPITER, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 20: Robert Dugger #89 of the Miami Marlins poses for a photo during photo days at Roger Dean Stadium on February 20, 2019 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 20: Robert Dugger #89 of the Miami Marlins poses for a photo during photo days at Roger Dean Stadium on February 20, 2019 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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While the Miami Marlins were topping the New York Mets, 2-0 at Marlins Park, there were other things afoot in their minor league system.

Most compelling for the Miami Marlins, Robert Dugger turned in a solid Quality Start for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in the double-A Southern League. Dugger struck out five and held the Montgomery Biscuits scoreless over seven innings of work, pushing his win-loss record up to 4-5 and his ERA down to 3.47 for the 2019 campaign. Dugger limited Montgomery to just four hits, all singles, walking two and getting 60-of-92 offerings over the dish.

Dugger, gained by the Miami Marlins along with RHP Nick Neidert and IF Christopher Torres in the trade that made Dee Gordon a Seattle Mariner, is now in his second season in the Marlins organization. Currently Miami’s number 26 prospect, Dugger was 10-7 with a 3.40 ERA and 141 K’s in 150 1/3 innings last season between the Jumbo Shrimp and the high-A Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League.

This season, Dugger has held his opponents to a .202 average in 46 2/3 innings, while whiffing 47 and racking up a 1.05 WHIP. Along with top Miami Marlins prospect Sixto Sanchez, the Shrimp starting rotation boasts a plethora of highly regarded prospects. Number seven prospect Jorge Guzman, number 18 Jordan Yamamoto, and the resurgent Cody Poteet round out the promising group despite a not-so-encouraging 15-28 record and a current last place position in the SL Southern Division.

The Marlins boast even more starting rotation depth at other levels of their minor league feeder system.  RHP Edward Cabrera (number eight), former first round LHP’s Braxton Garrett and Trevor Rogers (numbers 11 & 12, respectively), join current world-beater RHP Zac Gallen (number 21) in the top 30 list. Below that, Chris Vallimont is tearing up the Midwest League for the Clinton LumberKings, joined in their rotation by promising youngsters Manuel Rodriguez, George Soriano, Alberto Guerrero, Humberto Mejia, and Peyton Culbertson.

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When Gallen gets the inevitable callup to replace one of the Miami Marlins current starters, likely the underperforming Sandy Alcantara, but possibly Trevor Richards (not José Ureña, who is out of options), Dugger is a good bet to fill his spot at the triple-A level with the New Orleans Baby Cakes in the Pacific Coast League.

Just after the quarter-mark of the 2019 campaign, the Miami Marlins sit with the worst record in major league baseball, at 12-31 for a .279 winning percentage. Currently on pace for a 45-117 record and 433 runs scored, they really don’t have that much to lose in giving their top performing minor league pitchers some time at higher levels of play. Part owner Derek Jeter has long claimed that the players performing the best will get to play at higher levels, and now it’s time to put his money where his mouth is. That’s just my 2¢.

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