Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Mariners Claim Robert Dugger, Lose Ian Hamilton and Walter Lockett

On the second day of the Winter Meetings, the Mariners saw a few roster changes take place. RHP Walker Lockett was claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays and RHP Ian Hamilton was claimed by the Philadelphia Phillies. Both players were picked up by Seattle in September of 2020, although Lockett is the only one of the two that saw playing time with the Mariners, pitching 8 ⅓ innings with an unimpressive earned run average (ERA) of 4.32 and a ghastly strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) of 3.24. Hamilton, on the other hand, saw no playing time with any affiliated Seattle club.

Next, the Mariners claimed pitcher Robert Dugger from the Miami Marlins in a very interesting move. Dugger was originally drafted by the Mariners in round 18 of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft. On December 7, 2017, Dugger was sent to Miami as part of a prospect package that brought the Mariners Dee Strange-Gordon. Exactly three years later, the 18th round pick will return to the Mariners organization.

After Dugger was moved to Miami, he was ranked in Baseball America’s Top 30 Marlin’s Prospects three times between 2018-2020. Since making his MLB debut in August of 2019, Dugger’s performance has been quite lackluster. He has performed at replacement-player level, logging 45 innings over the two seasons with a 7.40 ERA and a 6.76 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP). However, there are reasons for Seattle to take another chance with their 2016 draftee.

While Dugger’s 2020 performance over 10 ⅔ innings was drastically worse than his already bad 2019 performance, his pitches seem as though they are trending in the correct direction. Adding 2 mph to his fastball and breaking pitches and almost 5 mph to his off-speed velocity from 2019 to 2020.

Dugger also increased the spin rate of all five of his pitches, according to Baseball Savant, adding 130 RPMs to his fastball, 132 RPMs to his slider, 130 RPMs to his curveball, 410 RPMs to his sinker, and 81 RPMs to his changeup.

Overall, the reacquisition of Dugger is the Mariners taking a flyer on a guy the organization is familiar with and whose pitches seem to be trending in the right direction. Whether the organization sees him as a starter or a relief pitcher is still yet to be seen, but Dugger does still have an MiLB option available, so it’s possible they’ll let him work on some things in Triple-A Tacoma before releasing him back onto the big stage of the Major Leagues and deciding his permanent role with the organization. 

Photo courtesy of Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Statistical images courtesy of Baseball Savant

Garrett Allen

Garrett Allen is a recent college graduate from Valdosta State University and is now pursuing a Masters of Science in Strategic Sports Analytics at the California University of Pennsylvania. Born and raised in Georgia, he is an avid Braves fan and has a particular interest in prospect development.