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Yankees 2014 Roster Report Card: Taylor Dugas

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Look out for Taylor Dugas in spring training 2015.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Grade: B-

2014 Statistics: .299/.399/.390 between Double-A and Triple-A

2014 Level/Roster Status: Triple-A/Non-40

If you've never heard of Taylor Dugas, I wouldn't blame you. He's not exactly the most exciting player in the system, so if you're not a huge prospect nerd, chances are you haven't heard his name since he's not on any top prospect lists. It's beginning to look like he might be worth some attention, though, so hopefully you'll keep him on your radar in 2015.

Back in February, I described Dugas as a singles hitter with a solid ability to get on base. I also predicted that he, Ben Gamel, and Jake Cave were three outfielders in the system that should get a lot of attention in 2014. While Cave received most of the praise for his season, Dugas and Gamel were largely overshadowed despite also turning in good showings at the plate. Dugas hit .299/.399/.390 this year between Double-A and Triple-A. During his time in Trenton, he compiled the 7th best on base percentage (minimum 200 at-bats) in the league and his 136 wRC+ ranked in the top 20.

It turns out that my profile for the left-handed hitting outfielder was pretty accurate. He collected 105 hits with 83 of them being singles. He hit only one home run, but also continued to walk at a rate higher than 10% of the time. Unfortunately, it was also his worst year in terms of walk rate (11.2%), he saw his strikeout rate rise to 14%, and he only managed to swipe seven bases, likely because someone told him not to be so reckless after he was caught stealing 11 times last year.

While you could look at this year and see it as a down year, it was also his first time in the upper level of the minors and he made it up to Scranton. What you won't see in the stat line is that Dugas also profiles as a pesky and patient hitter like Brett Gardner has been. Nathaniel Stoltz over at Rotographs worked up a profile of him back in March where he effectively described why Taylor Dugas should at least be considered a fringe prospect:

He drives pitchers crazy, because he takes just about everything that's out of the strike zone, he has the ability to get his bat to anything near the edges of the strike zone and foul it off, and he has the strength and feel for the barrel to rip line drives on mistakes. The result of that combination of skills is that his plate appearances go on and on and on, and yet he still finds his way to get a positive result-working his way on base-as much as almost any other player in the minor leagues.

...

He has a small strike zone and knows it extremely well, and while he does have a touch of strength, he doesn't overswing. His swing is very quick to the ball and he does a nice job keeping the barrel in the zone and letting the ball travel in before he commits, allowing him to make contact with nearly everything and make hard contact with enough pitches to hit for a high average.

So he's a patient hitter with no power, some speed, and an ability to make contact with the ball. Any time someone sounds like Brett Gardner, I'm going to get excited about it.

Heading into his age-25 season next year, Dugas is already a bit old for a prospect, but that doesn't mean he can't offer the Yankees some value. He can play all three outfield positions well and if the Yankees are going to fill their fourth outfielder role internally, Dugas should get a lot of attention in spring training. Maybe he doesn't break camp with the team, but he could end up in the majors at some point. He's not exactly loaded with tools and promise, but if he gets a chance he could show himself to be at least a competent role player and that has value too.