The Giants are set to get their first look at middle-infield prospect Mauricio Dubon, per Robert Murray of The Athletic (Twitter link). The Giants will promote the 25-year-old, whom they acquired in the deadline deal that sent Drew Pomeranz and Ray Black to the Brewers, prior to tonight’s game. Dubon is on the 40-man roster, so San Francisco will only be required to make a 25-man roster move to accommodate his promotion.
Dubon currently ranks fifth among Giants farmhands at Baseball America, seventh over at Fangraphs and eighth at MLB.com. He’s hitting a combined .302/.345/.477 in 539 plate appearances on the season, including a .323/.391/.485 line (116 wRC+) in 112 plate appearances since being traded over to his new organization. Dubon has long posted low strikeout rates in the minors, but he’s taken that trend to a new level in Triple-A Sacramento, where he’s walked more often (10 times) than he’s struck out (nine).
Originally a Red Sox draft pick in 2013, Dubon went to Milwaukee alongside Travis Shaw in the much-maligned (by Boston fans, that is) Tyler Thornburg swap. However, while he looked to be on the cusp of MLB readiness early in 2018, a torn ACL in May wiped out the remainder of last season for him. Upon returning to the field in 2019, Dubon was suddenly looking up at Keston Hiura and Mike Moustakas in the Brewers’ big league infield, clouding his path to the Majors to an extent. While the Brewers could’ve given him a look at shortstop with Orlando Arcia struggling immensely in 2019, the decision was instead made to utilize him as a means of adding some help to the relief corps.
With his new organization, Dubon is blocked at shortstop by Brandon Crawford (and his no-trade clause), who is signed through the 2021 season. However, while Dubon has played primarily shortstop in 2019, he has ample experience at second base and could immediately step into a regular role there as he auditions for 2020 at-bats. The Giants recently cut ties with Joe Panik, creating a clear opening for Dubon to slot into the lineup.
Dubon is generally regarded as a hit-over-power prospect, but his home run output has increased in Triple-A this season (though it’s worth noting the important caveat that home runs have skyrocketed throughout all of Triple-A upon switching over to the same ball used in MLB). While there may be questions about his ability to hit for power in the long run, particularly in the cavernous Oracle Park, Dubon typically receives average or better ratings for his hit tool, arm strength, speed and defensive abilities. Paired with a keen eye at the plate and solid upper-minors production, that skill set should earn him a legitimate opportunity at regular playing time with the Giants as they look to transition to a younger core under new front-office management headed by president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi.
By promoting Dubon now, the Giants will put him on track to become eligible for arbitration upon completion of the 2022 season and to reach free agency in the 2025-26 offseason. Future shuttling between the Majors and Triple-A could of course impact that timeline (and Dubon does have an option remaining beyond the current season). As things currently stand, he wouldn’t be a candidate for Super Two status, meaning he’d be arb-eligible the standard three times before hitting the open market.