Last night in Jupiter, the Threshers right fielder Kelly Dugan went 3 for 4 with a double to raise his batting average to .338. He needs a few more plate appearances to take over the batting lead in the Florida State League from injured teammate Cameron Perkins. Going into tonight’s action Kelly has 152 plate appearances and he needed 157 to qualify after last night’s game.
It has not only been Dugan’s batting average that has been impressive this season but he has also hit for power and is getting on base. His on base plus slugging(OPS) is second with a .989, trailing only Fort Myers third baseman Miguel Sano who leads the league with a 1.069 OPS.
Several of his six home runs this season have been memorable. At Brighthouse we have seen him homer to left off a left-handed pitcher and hit a line drive home run over the Oakley sign in right that disappeared into the night and another homer that landed over the wall that landed on the right field berm in front of the sign as well. His last home run was a line drive blast over the double level billboard wall in right-center at Dunedin.
His offensive splits are unusual for a left-handed hitter. Dugan is hitting lefties at a .400 clip while hitting right-handed pitching at a .308 pace.
The Phillies named Dugan its minor league position player of the month for May for hitting .314 in the month. He is off to an even better start in June hitting going 7 for 15 for a .467 average.
What has impressed me the most has been his outfield play after watching poor outfield play too many times last year in Clearwater. Dugan has yet to commit an error and has shown a strong arm on fly balls with three assists in 28 games so far in right field this season.
With the Threshers All Star outfielder Cameron Perkins on the disabled list, we would logically believe that the Florida State League would select Dugan as his replacement. After all he is leading the league in hitting, is second in OPS and has yet to commit an error in right field this season.
In last night game the Threshers starter, lefty Hoby Milner, continued his strong and consistent pitching. He went seven innings giving up only one run and struck out six in a no decision in a game that was lost by a two-run walk off home run in the bottom of the tenth inning, 3-2. In his last nine starts over 55 innings he has gone 5-0 striking out 53 for a 1.96 ERA. Another Threshers All Star pitcher Gabe Arias is on the disabled list and Milner should be a no-brainer to replace him if Gabe is unable to go.
Another pitcher who continues to impress this time out of the Threshers bullpen is 20 year old reliever Severino Gonzalez. He pitched two more scoreless innings last night to extend his streak over seven relief appearances after being added to the roster from extended spring training. He now has pitched 15.2 innings of shutout baseball. He is not over powering throwing in the low 90’s but has great command and control of all his pitches.
Players like Dugan, Milner and Severino, all young major league prospects, give Phillies fans hope for a better future in a few seasons.