Lugo collects four hits on perfect night

Jays' No. 8 prospect delivers on heels of five-RBI outing for Lugnuts

Dawel Lugo has collected multiple hits in 23 Midwest League games over the course of the season. (Lianna Holub/

By Josh Jackson / | July 17, 2014 12:39 AM ET

Dawel Lugo may have blasted only his third home run of the season Wednesday, but he's also given plenty of reason to believe there will be more to come this year.

"He's only 19," Class A Lansing hitting coach Ken Huckaby said of the Blue Jays' eighth-ranked prospect, "but he has shown flashes of [being] a Major League hitter."

Those flashes have been awful bright lately. Lugo's second homer came during a career-high five-RBI game Monday, and Wednesday's two-run roundtripper was part of a 4-for-4 performance that helped the Lugnuts to an 8-4 win over the visiting Kane County Cougars.

Although the shortstop prospect's power is just now beginning to manifest in the form of home runs, Lugo boasts a .289 average -- up from .210 on May 1 -- through his first 80 games of full-season ball.

"He's been swinging a good bat. Starting out with the cold weather and his first year in it, he was a little slow, but he's stayed right around .280 for the last couple months," Huckaby said.

"When the weather warmed up, so did he, and he's been hovering around .280. Now he's starting to hit with the power we always knew was there."

The four-hit game Wednesday was Lugo's third of the season. He also collected four against Bowling Green on May 12 and Fort Wayne on May 24.

"The key to him with those kind of games is not to chase bad pitches. When he has the plate discipline to do that, he's a special kind of hitter," Huckaby said. "When he doesn't, he still maintains what he's been doing, because he has such good hands."

Lugo singled in the first inning and again in the fourth against Kane County starter Juan Paniagua. With two outs and teammate Mitch Nay on first base in the fifth, the right-handed hitter showed what he can do on the second pitch of the at-bat.

"Basically, he got a slider and [Paniagua] hung it," Huckaby said. "He hit just an absolute line drive that went out of the stadium in left field. He hit it like he's supposed to, just like you want these young guys to learn to do."

Batting against Zak Hermans to start the seventh, Lugo collected his 15th Midwest League double.

"The double was good because it was down the right-field line," said Huckaby. "It was completely the other way from his home run. That tells me he's seeing the ball really well, and making adjustments to where the pitcher is trying to work him."

Lugnuts leadoff hitter David Harris was 3-for-5 with three runs scored and an RBI, and Derrick Loveless tripled, doubled with two RBIs and one run.

Shane Dawson improved to 3-5 by holding the Cougars to two hits and two walks while whiffing four over six shutout innings. His ERA stands at 3.38.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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