Dominican player, Dawel Lugo owes his professional success to his father, a positive attitude and Merengue.
The 20-year-old who last played for the Lansing Lugnuts in the Midwest League is at the Toronto Blue Jays annual spring training in hopes of being chosen to play for the minor league baseball team at the next level, the Dunedin Blue Jays.
His career started at 15 when his father, Ursino Lugo, an outfielder in the Indians farm system in the mid-1990s, along with trainer Victor “Mula” Franco decided to prepare him.
“My dad has had a big influence in my career and has helped me a lot,” Lugo said in Spanish. “He has always told me to work very hard to achieve my goals and always be focused. He also taught me that keeping a positive attitude can take you anywhere.
“Visualizing, I am going to do a good job and listening to merengue helps me prepare before each game.”
As a 16-year-old international free agent, he was discovered by former Dominican player for the Toronto Blue Jays in the Gulf Coast League, Hilario Soriano.
In 2011, he was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays for $1.3 million, the highest bonus a Latin American infielder received that year.
“I felt a tremendous joy to make my family proud and finally focus on my career and that bonus only encouraged me to work harder and achieve even more,” said Lugo.
Lugo did not have a great performance when he started playing in the Midwest League, however in 2014 he improved significantly both in terms of performance and maturity, since he became acclimated to the cold weather.
“Bluefield, Virginia and Vancouver have a very similar hot weather and that is the type of climate where I have played my best since I grew up in the Dominican Republic,” Lugo said. “This Tampa weather is also great for my game.”
Last year Lugo hit .259/. 289/.329 in 117 games and 474 at-bats.
The Dominican also says that part of his improvement is due to the fact that he has a better grasp of the English language.
“I have a better English level,” Lugo said. “Every day I have classes at six [in the morning]. I would say my level is now intermediary, there are five groups and right now I am in level two and right now Richard Urena and I are in special classes while we are in spring training.“
There is no doubt Lugo has a brilliant future ahead of him and he has set himself to keep training hard and is very fortunate to have his father consistently guiding him forward as well as train him to ultimately play in the major leagues for the Toronto Blue Jays.
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