Will Struggles Continue?
January 1, 2045: Yellow Springs – A year ago the newsfeeds were abuzz with discussion about youthful Arvin Duggan
, a kid the Nine had received a few seasons back in a trade that sent away a solid catching prospect. The kid had “broken out” in AA earlier, posting a .297/.422/.435 line lading off in Santa Clara. Defensively, his 6.7 ZR was considered a sign of things to come. A year later, the numbers in AAA were a shade down, but nothing to get too concerned with, especially since the glovework remained steady.
“Can’t miss,” the scouts were saying. “Fast as a bullet. Takes good routes.”
Run time up to today and the situation isn’t quite so clear.
Duggan’s rookie season with the big league club was an anemic bust at the plate, and only fair to middling in the field. All total the .200/.294/.328 line combined with his 30 SB and fair glove to add up to a whopping half a WAR. Not what anyone was looking for, least of which was the kid himself.
Some argue that the issue had something to do with the team pressing Duggan’s glove into the game even against left-handed pitching, and there’s truth to that. The kid’s line against left-handed pitching was a shudder-inducing 64 OPS+. But the fact is he wasn’t much better against right handers.
“I’m pretty pissed off, to be honest,” said the Canadian via a video chat late last night. “The guys were great about it, and I know we won a lot of games. So that’s all good. But I was awful.”
That attitude goes a long way to understanding the process Duggan is going through—a process that includes a strict high-protein diet and two trips to the gym—both made by running the distance as long as the snow will let him. “He’s a resilient kid,” said Fredrick Powell, his high school coach and the guy who runs the gym where Duggan is spending his off-season. “But he’s a proud guy, too. You can bet he won’t give you less than 100%. I’m hoping the 2045 will be a redemption year for him.”
Fans, too, are hoping for such redemption.
Or at least some are.
The rest are busy looking at his .4 Zone Rating and nothing that—with the departure of Abdeljilill Sedicki—there appears no one on the club who can really play the position (and having something akin to nightmares at the idea of minor league Angel Ruiz
getting more than maybe 50 plate appearances.
“It just looks like we’re all-in on the dude,” said Kal Freedman, a leader of the local Bleed Nie Red fan group. “And while I’m sure he’s a great little guy to go out partying with, we’ve got freakin’ games to win.”