The day after middle infielder Abiatal Avelino played left field for the first time in his career and was thrown out at home plate after running through Ron Wotus’s stop sign, the Giants are calling up hot-hitting 25-year old middle infielder Mauricio Dubon, according to this tweet.
Mauricio Dubon hit his fourth home run as a River Cat, and is now batting .323/.391/.485 since the trade. The 25-year old is likely just days away from making his San Francisco debut once the 40-man roster expansion happens.
— and this highlight from last night:
With Dubon, it’s gone pic.twitter.com/q2MwvukfMA— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) August 27, 2019
After the trade, MLB Pipeline ranked him the 8th-best prospect in the Giants’ system. Their scouting report on him isn’t eye-opening, but it’s not disappointing, either:
Dubon can do a little bit of everything on the diamond and offers more than the typical sum-of-all-parts player. He has excellent hand-eye coordination and a quick right-handed bat that helps him make barreled, line-drive contact with relative ease. He also has a good approach, and scouts project him as at least an average hitter. While he’s enjoyed an uptick in power as he’s grown stronger, Dubon is more likely to be a source of doubles and triples than home runs. He’s able to tally some of those extra-base hits thanks to above-average speed that netted him at least 30 steals in three straight seasons.
They give him a “50” grade, which means an average major leaguer. The “average” line for a National League non-pitcher this year is .260/.332/.447, or a .328 wOBA. For context, the only Giants with a league average or better wOBA (minimum 100 PA) are:
- Alex Dickerson, .441
- Austin Slater, .383
- Donovan Solano, .358
- Mike Yastrzemski, .350
- Stephen Vogt, .350
- Pablo Sandoval, .337
- Evan Longoria, .333
Let’s safely assume that if he does manage to achieve the level of “average” it won’t happen this week. The ultimate goal should be for him to get there next season. But what they might have in him right now could very well be better than what they have in the players they have on hand.
There are just 29 games left in the season and who knows how much playing time he’ll get, but it’s worth noting that he’s being pulled away while the River Cats are about to play in the Triple-A postseason and before September call-ups. Sure, the major league team is every prospect’s “first position”, but this pre-September 1st move of this magnitude seems to satisfy the “play meaningful games as deep into the season as possible” ideology better than “punish players who ignore their coach.”
So, this isn’t because of Avelino’s blunder. It’s because the Giants want to shore up second base and shortstop over the next week or two to see if they can still keep hope alive.
The middle infield is a little messy right now. Donovan Solano might have firmed up his starting spot, but maybe not. The team has lost faith in Scooter Gennett, but maybe not. Brandon Crawford might be getting going a little tiny bit, but maybe not; and, Austin Slater at second might be too risky a proposition with faint Wild Card dreams still barely in play; so, throwing Dubon into that mix might create more positive opportunities for Bruce Bochy, particularly late in the game. Last night’s loss exposed the Giants’ glaring weakness: a lack of right-handed bats, especially on the bench.
This won’t be Dubon’s major league debut. That happened back on July 7th with Milwaukee in a pinch hit appearance (he grounded out to first base). He would make one more pinch hit appearance on July 12th (a strikeout) before being sent back to Triple-A and before being traded to the Giants.
That strikeout was one of the few recorded by Shaun Anderson in his young career:
I noted before that
His 3:1 strikeouts to walk ratio is a little bit higher than the type of player Zaidi seems to prefer — however, we’re talking about just 59 strikeouts in 427 plate appearances, meaning he strikes out just 13.8% of the time — that’s great.
In 112 plate appearances with the River Cats, that 3:1 strikeouts to walk ratio is closer to 1:1, with 10 walks against just 9 strikeouts. He does get caught stealing a lot, though. He’s 127/157 for his career (80.9% success rate), but just 16/27 the past two seasons (59.3%).
Circling back, I can’t help but notice that four of the top players on that wOBA list are Zaidi acquisitions. Two of the top four were acquired by trade. It’s impossible to translate a minor leaguer’s career numbers to the major leagues with much accuracy, but if you’re looking for a positive trend, I’d start with that.
Has Farhan Zaidi found “the next Chris Taylor” or “the next Mike Yastrzemski” or the first Mauricio Dubon? Dubon is just the second major leaguer from Honduras. He immigrated to the States and grew up in Sacramento, so “interesting backstory + local connection” continues to be a thread running through most of the transactions made by the new front office this year.
Also, he has a perfect pug named Chorizo:
UPDATE @ 1:12 PM: