Arizona Diamondbacks – Lugo, prospects end Fall Season

Infielder prospect Dawel Lugo of the Arizona Diamondbacks is one of several prospects promoted to the 40-man roster

For infielder Dawel Lugo, a top prospect for the Arizona Diamondbacks, a solid showing in the Arizona Fall League paid dividends.

As a member of the Salt River Rafters, Lugo and fellow Arizona prospects just fell short of advancing to the league title game Saturday. Losing to Surprise on the final day of the season and with the Mesa Solar Sox tying, the Solar Sox when captured the East Division title.

In the end, Lugo demonstrated enough talent to Arizona decision-makers to warrant a rise in his value. Despite watching the Fall League title game on television, Lugo and prospects attracted the kind of attention to keep them under the microscope.

On Saturday afternoon, the Sox brought out the heavy lumber, drilled three homers and defeated the Surprise Saguaros, 6-1 before 2591 at Scottsdale Stadium. The Sox powered out to an early advantage and credit Marlins’ prospect Brian Anderson with a three-run bomb in the first inning as the catalyst. That was followed with a two-run homer off the bat of Cubs’ prospect Ian Happ in the third, and this one was tucked away early. Later, Happ, a switch-hitting infielder, slammed his second of the game from the right side and finished with a  4-for-4 afternoon.

“Never homered from both sides of the plate so that was definitely cool,” said Happ, a 22-year-old who hit a combined 15 homers between Advanced A Myrtle Beach and Double-AA Tennessee. “I managed to get the barrel out there, and they kept falling.

Through the Rafters maintained a slim lead throughout the season, they finished with a 15-15-1 mark, and one-half game behind the Sox.

Still, participation in the Fall League is considered an important step to an eventual spot on a major-league roster. Lugo, along with pitchers Joey Krehbiel, Jared Miller, Gabe Speier and Josh Taylor, infielder Kevin Cron and outfielder Jamie Westbrook all contributed to Salt River’s run toward the division title.

Only Lugo was rewarded with a spot on the current 40-man roster. Playing mostly at third base in the Fall League, Lugo, who will be 22 on December 31 and out of Bani, in the Dominican Republic, finished his run with the Rafters with a .267 batting average, six doubles, on HR and knocked in 13 runs. Along with Jack Reinheimer, who was added to the 40-man roster, Lugo will compete for a utility infielder slot in spring training.

One roadblock for Lugo and Reinheimer could be Phil Gosselin, who finished with a .277 average for the Diamondbacks, but topped the majors in pinch-hitter appearances (83) and pinch hits (20).

Though he sailed through the Arizona Fall League with a 0.00 ERA for 10 appearances, Miller was not added to the 40-man roster. Advancing on four levels through the Diamondbacks’ system, Miller finished with Triple-A Reno, and said, during the Fall League season, “I want to play against the best.”

Despite big numbers, Miller does not appear on manager Torey Lovullo’s radar screen, so he will likely prove his worth starting in the minors. There’s no question the Diamondbacks need help in the bullpen, and Miller could be one possible solution.

On Nov. 18, the mandated hour Major League Baseball set for teams to reach their 40-man roster, general manager Mike Hazen began the clean-up a wretched bullpen. Not protected, lefty Edwin Escobar (who picked up by Cleveland) and Dominic Leone (picked up by Toronto) were swept away. More changes are likely.

For now, Lugo was rewarded for his play in the Fall League, and has a significant opportunity to take his game to the next level.

MAKING ROOM

Just before the mandatory MLB deadline of Nov. 18 to reach the 40-man level, the Diamondbacks made an additional move.

Added to the roster was infielder Domingo Leyba, a 21-year-old native of Santo Domingo Centro, in the Dominican Republic. Between Advanced A Visalia and Double-AA Mobile, Leyba hit .296 (147-for-496) with 32 doubles, 10 homers and 60 RBIs in 130 games.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Diamondbacks designated outfielder Gabriel Guerrero for assignment.

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