Kelly Dugan – OF – Bats: L Throws: R
In the most gut-wrenching ways, Kelly Dugan calls to mind memories of Scott Rolen and Chase Utley. I’m sure this is not an original comparison, but it is nearly unavoidable. A trio of early-round Phillies draft picks, with loads of natural talent, who played hard and saw their bodies pay the price. Lucky for Kelly Dugan, the Barnstormers, and Atlantic League fans, Dugan is still one thing that Rolen and Utley no longer are – a ballplayer.
Kelly Dugan’s frequent injuries plagued his nine-year minor league career and followed him to the American Association last season, even after a year away from the field in 2018. In his ten pro seasons, Kelly has managed only three years of 100 games. However, what the 29-year-old has in Lancaster is a tremendous opportunity to show that he can not only stay healthy but still play high-level ball. Last season in Chicago, Dugan slashed .313/.394/.490 in his 236 plate appearances. While he was helped by an abnormally high BABIP (.364 compared to the league average .318), let’s not fault Kelly for getting some good luck for once. After all, he certainly made plenty out of it.
Projections are very positive for Dugan in 2020, giving him the highest projected OPS+ of all current Lancaster signees. Dugan’s low-end projections still make him out as an above-average hitter by OPS+ standards. There is always a chance Kelly Dugan bounces right back to the injured list in 2020, but if he’s healthy, the Barnstormers have themselves a key left-handed piece for a team in need of a playoff run.
Luis Marte – SS/3B/2B – Bats: R Throws: R
Recent Barnstormers signing, Luis Marte is coming to Lancaster after nine Minor League seasons. The best estimation of Marte’s potential sits in his 183 triple-A games where he posted a .260/.285/.343 slash over more than 700 plate appearances. The last 330 of those plate appearances came last season with Atlanta’s Gwinnett Stripers, where Marte posted very similar numbers (.260/.294/.346), demonstrating his consistency against that level of competition.
Marte’s long career as a minor leaguer without making it to the show is hardly his fault. Between the Braves and Rangers organizations, Marte has been stuck behind the likes of Rougned Odor, Elvis Andrus, Ozzie Albies, and Dansby Swanson as well as prospects like Anderson Tejeda and Sherten Apostel. Marte is a good hitter who could flourish with a season outside of the organizational structure. While Luis has shown very little power, even with the juiced ball (allegedly) in triple-A, there’s something to be said for a consistent middle-infield bat paired with above average defense. If Marte shows a bit of pop at the plate in 2020, he could be a great asset in the Lancaster lineup and might find himself back in a triple-A clubhouse before we know it.