PHOENIX—Third baseman Dawel Lugo looks like a different player, both physically and in terms of his approach at the plate, and it’s helped the 21-year-old develop into one of the few legitimate position prospects in the system.
Lugo not only dropped about 15 pounds since the start of spring training, but he continued to refine his approach at the plate, both of which played a part in a breakout season in which he hit a combined .311/.339/.492 with 17 home runs and 62 RBIs between high class A Visalia and Double-A Mobile.
“I used to swing at everything before,” Lugo said through a translator. “I didn’t have a defined zone for myself. I’ve been working on developing my own zone, and I’ve been sticking with it.
“Starting with the first pitch, I go up there hunting my pitch. If I don’t get it right away, I’ll be patient because I know that at some point I’ll get it.”
Lugo came to the Diamondbacks in the August 2015 trade that sent shortstop Cliff Pennington to the Blue Jays. He signed for $1.5 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2011, receiving the second-highest bonus, behind the Royals’ Raul A. Mondesi, for an infielder in that signing class.
Lugo had a thick build even when he signed—his shift to third base this season was a move some scouts anticipated five years ago, in large part due to his physique—but he impressed D-backs coaches by getting in better shape this year.
Lugo said he has been watching his diet and staying more disciplined in the weight room.
“I definitely credit that to part of the success I’ve had this year,” Lugo said. “I’m moving around better, feeling more athletic—stuff like that.”
Lugo’s continued improvement carried over to the Arizona Fall League. He hit .283 through his first 12 games playing for Salt River and was named to the Fall Stars Game for the league’s top performers.
• In an AFL game attended by new general manager Mike Hazen, lefthander Josh Taylor threw four scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and one walk while striking out seven. Taylor had an up-and-down year between Visalia and Mobile, going a combined 5-11, 5.36 with 123 strikeouts in 132.2 innings.
• Lefty Jared Miller had impressive numbers through the first two weeks of AFL play, tossing seven scoreless innings with one walk and 14 strikeouts. The Diamondbacks selected him in the 11th round out of Vanderbilt in 2014.