Mariners Minors: Robert Dugger – RHP – Clinton LumberKings
The fifth edition of Mariners Minors focusses on a pitcher from the Class A Clinton LumberKings. At just 22 years old, Robert Dugger won’t likely be cracking the M’s rotation anytime soon, but 2017 is going well for the righty, but not many of y’all likely know about him.
After growing up in Magnolia, TX, Dugger played his first two years of college baseball at Cisco Junior college. He finished 8-7 in his career, with an ERA of 4.88. In his sophomore season, he had a K:BB ratio of 55:18 in 70 innings. After his time in JUCO, Dugger went to Texas Tech where he played one season before being drafted by the Mariners.
In his lone season at Texas Tech, he pitched as a reliever, accruing 60.2 innings in 30 appearances. He posted an ERA of 2.67. His K:BB ratio at Texas Tech was again solid at 54:23. He left school after the Mariners selected him in the 18th round of the 2016 Draft.
Career with Mariners
In 2016, the Mariners started him, as expected, at the AZL Mariners, but then after four games, they promoted him to Tacoma where he made two appearances. He pitched four innings, did not receive a decision, and finished with a 6.75 ERA. While that number seems high (and in a sense it is), his first outing was a two-inning, shutout effort with two strikeouts. So while his second outing was rocky, the first one speaks to his potential.
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After Tacoma the Mariners moved Dugger back down, this time to Low-A Everett. With the AquaSox, he pitched in six games, posted an ERA of 5.47, but 13 of his 18 runs allowed came in 2 of his 6 games (8 and 5 respectively). The highlight of last season’s time with Everett was a 6-inning, 78-pitch, scoreless start where he tallied 4 strikeouts.
In 2017 he made the move up one rank to Clinton, and has been a solid pitcher. He started the year relieving, different from how he finished the year at Everett. In his first 13 appearances of the year, he posted a 3.42 ERA. Then, he made the switch back to starter, and that switch has paid dividends for him.
Next: Mariners Minors: Joseph Rosa – Second Baseman – Everett
In 7 starts, Dugger has posted an ERA of 1.08. In his 33.2 innings, he’s struck out 37 batters and only giving up 7 walks. His WHIP sits at 0.86 as a starter in 2017. These are absolutely stellar numbers.
The Mariners have a lot of outfield depth on the big league club and on the farm, they also seemed packed with infielders, but quality starting pitching is hard to come by for this team. I am not by any stretch saying a 22-year-old who’s posted good stats in A-ball will be a big rotation stud someday, but you’ve got to love the trajectory his career appears to be taking. If he can keep his career anywhere near the level he’s at right now, he will be a star. Let’s check back in with him again in 3 or 4 years and see where he’s at, but keep Robert Dugger on your radars.