Vancouver Canadians infielder Cade Doughty is the latest to step up to the plate in this instalment of C’s Chat.
The Baton Rouge, Louisiana native was destined to call Baton Rouge home until the time he turned pro. He enjoyed a standout career at Denham Springs in which he hit .505 with 16 extra-base hits, 27 runs batted in and 15 stolen bases in his senior year of 2019. Doughty also showed promise on the mound with a 1.17 earned run average in which he won two games and saved three others. His athleticism was also extended to the gridiron as he dabbled as a wide receiver in football. When his senior season was all said and done, Doughty was named the Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year and received 2019 Collegiate Baseball All-American honours.
A young veteran in international baseball with stints on the Team USA 15, 17 and 18-and-under squads, Doughty’s impressive resume got the attention of scouts. There was speculation he could have been drafted in the first three rounds of the 2019 MLB Draft. Instead, he went in the 39th round to the Detroit Tigers. Doughty did go to the Tigers but not the ones in Detroit. He opted to join the Tigers of Louisiana State University and continue the family tradition that began with his great-grandfather Frank Doughty who played basketball for the LSU Tigers in 1937. His father Richard Doughty was a catcher at LSU in 1989 and his older brother Braden Doughty, also a catcher, was Cade’s teammate during his 2020 freshman season. The brothers’ reunion was cut short by Covid but Cade quickly established himself in the 16 games that he played by batting .278 with a .772 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. He also saw some action in the summer college circuit with the Gaithersburg Giants of the Cal Ripken League where he hit .346 with five homers and 23 RBI.
The 2021 season saw Doughty hit .308 and slug .546 with half of his 26 extra-base hits leaving the ballpark. During the NCAA Tournament, he hit .346 including two doubles as part of a 3-for-4 performance against the Oregon Ducks—and future C’s teammate Josh Kasevich—to help the Tigers win the Eugene Regional. Doughty would homer off future C’s teammate Chad Dallas in the Knoxville Super Regional but the Tennessee Volunteers would knock out LSU thanks in part to Dallas, who struck out 12 LSU Tigers in six innings to get the win. Doughty’s year would continue with another summer college stop with the Winter Park Diamond Dogs of the Florida Collegiate League where he batted .280 in nine contests.
After playing third base in 51 of 58 games for LSU in 2021, Doughty would spend most of 2022 at second with 51 starts at second base, with a handful of games at third and short. That didn’t affect his bat as he totalled 34 extra-base hits, including 15 dingers while slashing .298/.393/.567. He missed the SEC Tournament due to a left shoulder injury but returned in time for the Hattiesburg Regional where he hit .444 with three home runs. However, LSU was eliminated by host Southern Mississippi in the final. Doughty squeezed in four games with the Duluth Huskies of the Northwoods League before turning his attention to the 2022 MLB Draft.
Doughty would hear his name called in the supplemental second round where he was taken by the Toronto Blue Jays with the 78th overall pick on the advice of scout Chris Curtis. That pick was awarded to Toronto after lefty Robbie Ray left to sign a free-agent deal with Seattle. After agreeing to a signing bonus of $831,100, Doughty reported to Dunedin with his fellow Blue Jays draftees for draft camp. He acclimated pretty well to the pro level with a 10-game hitting streak and a 17-game on-base streak to start his career with the Dunedin Blue Jays. Doughty recorded a single in his first at-bat and went 2-for-3 against Tampa on August 9. Another 2-for-3 effort including a two-run single and game-winning RBI followed against Tampa on August 12 before clubbing his first pro homer against the Tarpons on August 13. Another professional first came when he belted a grand slam in a comeback victory against Jupiter on August 16. He went deep again against Jupiter on August 20 before walking off the Hammerheads on August 21 to punctuate a two-homer game.
Doughty’s heroics continued in the postseason as he batted .381 for the D-Jays, including a home run in Game 1 of the Florida State League final against St. Lucie on September 18. Unfortunately, the D-Jays came up short in their bid for an FSL title as they were swept by the Mets in two straight after knocking out Fort Myers in a three-game semi-final.
If his first season is any indication, Doughty is worthy of comparisons to former LSU Tiger and Toronto Blue Jays infielder Aaron Hill, a 2003 first-round pick of Canada’s Team.
Baseball America rated Doughty as the team’s best pure hitter who had the best pro debut among Toronto’s 2022 draft class.
“2B Cade Doughty (2s) is likely the most advanced pure hitter in the draft class currently, and he had one of the better debuts after slashing .272/.370/.495 with six home runs in 26 games with Low-A Dunedin…Doughty (2s) has long been praised for his professional approach to the game, so it’s unsurprising that he has acquitted himself so well to pro ball in his debut. Doughty was 47% better than the average Florida State League hitter in his 26-game stint and he impressed with solid on-base skills, solid power and the ability to handle both second and third base.”
This spring, Doughty received some playing time in Grapefruit League action. He worked a pinch-hit walk against former Ray/Marlin/Oriole Louis Head against Philadelphia on February 28 and drew another base on balls against another big leaguer in Garrett Hill on March 20 during a game against Detroit.
Assigned to Vancouver to start the year, Doughty is showing off his extra-base power in the early going with two doubles in a win against the Tri-City Dust Devils on April 14. He collected his first Northwest League homer and added a double in Everett on April 23.
C’s Plus Baseball was able to chat with Doughty during the tail end of the first homestand of the season. This interview has been edited for clarity.
C’s Plus Baseball – Let’s talk about the draft and how you found out you were drafted by the Blue Jay
Cade Doughty – Yeah, it was an awesome experience and I was actually able to have a lot of my close family and friends over for the draft. As soon as I got that call from my (advisor), my face lit up. I was so excited to go to a great organization like Toronto, I mean it exceeded my expectations. The facilities, the coaches and the work ethic that goes through this organization, it’s awesome so I feel really blessed.
CPB – Did you have any idea the Blue Jays were going to take you?
CD – I knew Toronto really liked me, so I was kind of hoping I’d end up there and it really worked out in my favour and I’m just blessed to be in this opportunity.
CPB – I’m sure it was a much different experience compared to the first time you were drafted. You were drafted by the (Detroit) Tigers before you decided to commit to LSU. What was that draft experience like? At least you could say ‘Well, at least I got drafted twice.’
CD – Yeah. To be honest, I had just gotten to my summer ball team in Gaithersburg, Maryland and we were kind of sitting on the bench before a game, just getting updates on the draft because whatever. And my friend’s like, ‘Yo dude! You just got picked!’ I was like, ‘What? What are you talking about man?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah dude, the Tigers!’ And I was like, ‘The Tigers?’ I mean, I didn’t really talk to the Tigers that much but sure enough, the area scout gives me a call and lets me know. Obviously, it was great to see my name on the board. I wasn’t expecting it so it was a really cool experience.
CPB – The Detroit Tigers. Did they give you the full-court press to try to sign you?
CD – No, it was just, ‘Hey man, we know you’re not gonna sign but we wanted you to see your name on the board.’ I thought that was cool from them just to let me experience that.
CPB – You do go to the Tigers but it’s the LSU Tigers. I know your family and you have got a pretty long history there at LSU. What did it mean to you to play there?
CD – Growing up, you know, that was always my dream. My bunk beds were purple and gold, my shower towels were purple and gold. It was pretty much written in the script for me to go there and it was awesome. It was probably some of the most fun years of my life, just playing in that stadium. I mean wearing that jersey with so much pride, I was really excited.
CPB – What was it like playing at Alex Box Stadium? It’s apparently one of the more electric atmospheres in college baseball and playing in the SEC but what was it like playing there?
CD – It was a lot of fun honestly. I think they’re having a lot more fun this year. They’re just being louder into it but you know, they were great fans. They were awesome and I’m really glad I got to play there.
CPB – You could have returned for this season and LSU is ranked number one and they’re having a great season. I know obviously the goal is to turn pro but at the same time do you wish you could still be there?
CD – Not really. I think I was ready to go. I think even Coach Johnson (Jay Johnson) recently told me I’ve been one of the more ready players to kind of get in an organization and see what happens. I do think it was time for me and I wish the best of luck to them but I’m so happy where I am. This situation makes it so much better.
CPB – You played against Josh Kasevich when he was with the Oregon Ducks. What was that like when you two finally got together and get drafted by the same team after all that?
CD – Yeah, that was awesome. He was my roommate (in Dunedin) so I walked up, met him officially and then I was like, ‘Hey wait! Didn’t we beat you in the regional?’ And you know, that got a conversation going for sure. We’re good friends now and honestly, I tease him about that pretty much weekly so you know, I never let him hear it down.
CPB – When you look back on your time there, what would you say was the best moment that stands out for you?
CD – I would just probably say the team aspect. We had a really tight team and I’m surprised we have that here too. It’s been a great transition but I just liked the brothership, the fellowship and then spending time with my teammates so thankfully I get to do that every day now and don’t worry about (going to) class.
CPB – You’ve been compared to Aaron Hill, a former LSU Tiger who was a pretty good Blue Jays infielder in his day. What do you think about that comp? Do you see the similarity?
CD – Yeah, I think so. I mean I like to pride myself on all different parts of the game and not just being a hitter, just being a defensive asset and being a good base runner, a good person. I definitely see the comparisons.
CPB – When you get drafted, you go to draft camp. What was that experience like getting acclimated to pro ball? How big was that for you to kind of help you settle in when you did report to the Dunedin Blue Jays?
CD – Yeah, that was a great transition period for us. All of the guys, mostly college guys, some high school dudes but we had to get our bodies re-prepared, you know. We had our seasons and then we had our off times kind of just getting back into baseball every day. Normal practice days and stuff like that were great and the coaches made it really easy to be a personal and great experience to welcome us with open arms.
CPB – Things really turned around it seems like as soon as the draft class got there it was quite the stretch run for you guys and making the playoffs. What was that like playing with Dunedin?
CD – Yeah that was awesome. I think we were touched last year. Just something about us. I mean we never quit. Actually, in yesterday’s game (a Canadians come-from-behind win against Tri-City on April 14), we were like, ‘Dang, this feels like Dunedin’. Because somehow someway, we found a way to win and you know, I’m really glad that was my first experience to put in. To instill that winning culture is huge and I think all the guys from Dunedin and the High-A guys definitely have that so we’re gonna keep on going, keep on running but it was awesome.
CPB – When you look back during your first pro experience, what did you say stands out for you? Was there a certain game or a certain moment that really stands out when you think back on it?
CD – We actually made it to the championship series and the first game, I homered my first at-bat and it was just super cool because a lot of fans were there and that was my first playoff championship playoff game so that was really fun.
CPB – You had a pretty successful first year with six homers you hit in a fairly short amount of time. What was working for you?
CD – I think I was just swinging at the right pitches, you know. Seeing the ball really well and hopefully I can continue to do that and just continue to put good swings on baseballs.
CPB – Anything you worked on specifically in the off season to prepare for 2023?
CD – It’s kind of just reopening the right side of the field for me, you know. Getting those ‘oppo’ line drives, ‘oppo’ doubles and whatnot because last year sometimes I could just focus on pulling the ball. So if I can open up the right side of the field, I think I can be a much more efficient hitter.
CPB – Second base or third base, does it matter to you?
CD – It doesn’t matter as long as I’m out there on the field.
CPB – How different is it preparing when you know you’re gonna play second base one day and then maybe third the next. What do you do to prepare when you know you’re gonna be at a different position?
CD – It is actually quite, I don’t know if it’s challenging is the right word, but it’s different positions and complete opposites. Second base, you have a lot of time and you can wait on some balls but third base it’s more quick just reaction-based fielding. So the preparation just usually starts in early work, you know, once I get to the field, if I know I’m playing second base, I’ll work on my double play turns, my pivots, my flips and make sure everything’s clicking and working together. So it really just starts as soon as I get to the field. Once I know where I’m playing it’s pretty easy for me to get back in that mindset because I’ve been doing both for so long.
CPB – The Player Development Complex in Dunedin. I don’t know if you were familiar with all the bells and whistles that they have, if they had anything like that at LSU, but how did that help you develop?
CD – The complex is one of one, the best in the minor leagues by far and I’m just really so grateful I got to train there every day with the best coaching staff and the most comfortable environment. The facilities are insane. The hitting lab, unbelievable. It’s brand new and we like to keep it that way. Everything’s perfectly clean and made for us so I’m really grateful.
CPB – Was there maybe any mechanical tweaks you might have made to your swing while you were down there or you’re just trying to keep things simple?
CD – Yeah, we were working on some connection drills and I think it definitely worked out for me.
CPB – When you step up to the batter’s box, what is your approach?
CD – Hit the ball as hard as I can.
CPB – Are you ever concerned with launch angle or anything like that?
CD – No. Definitely not. I mean that’s a tool but I’m not gonna change my swing based off of how high I can hit the ball.
CPB – Just want to get your thoughts on life with the Canadians and the Northwest League. Has it been a big adjustment the Florida State League? Obviously weather-wise would be first and foremost.
CD – Yeah, the weather’s been a little different. I won’t say worse but it’s been a little different. But this is actually my first time playing in colder weather but I think I’ve adjusted pretty well.
CPB – Big difference from the pitching in the Florida State League to the Northwest League?
CD – There’s a lot more spin I would say but I have my approach and you know, I think if I stick to my plan I can hopefully get the best out of some more pitchers than less.
CPB – The first weekend of the year you get rained out, did you feel maybe there’s a bit of rust to shake off when you guys finally did get the season underway?
CD – To be honest, yeah, a little bit. I think after that game a lot of the guys got a little sore just because we had so many days off. But I think we’ve handled it very well coming back after having those three days off, competing, getting ready, getting our reps in and then taking on this first full week, which I think we’ve done very well.
CPB – Finally, justed wanted to ask, did you have a favourite major league team growing up?
CD – I did but it’s the Astros so I don’t know if that’s good. My Dad grew up in Houston but it was actually the Houston Astros.
CPB – But definitely a Blue Jays fan now.
CD – Yeah, a huge Blue Jays guy now.
Cade Doughty File
- Born – March 26, 2001, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- Height/Weight – 6-foot-1, 195 pounds
- Bats/Throws – Right/Right
- Uniform Numbers – Wore numbers 4 and 7 for LSU. Wore number 2 for Dunedin in 2022.
- Walkup Music – “Baby Girl” by Disco Lines.
- Twitter – @Cadedoughty
- Instagram – @cadedoughty4
- Fun Fact – Became the first LSU Tiger to homer in his first career collegiate at-bat since Beau Didier in 2009.
Thanks a million again to Cade Doughty and C’s play-by-play man Tyler Zickel for their help with the latest C’s Chat.