Despite being a 26th round draft pick in 2013, Mauricio Dubon has been a fairly big prospect name since about 2015, where he was commonly ranked about top 15 in the Red Sox system. Dubon was traded to the Brewers along with Travis Shaw in 2016 for Tyler Thornburg, and has been a top prospect in that system since. A career .300 hitter in the minors, Dubon caught people’s eyes with his abilities as a pure hitter, and has consistently been given an above average grade on his hit tool as a prospect. He got off to a great start in 2018, slashing .343/.348/.574 through 27 games, but unfortunately had his season cut short due to injuries. Dubon returned in a big way in 2019, demonstrating power that he had never shown before en route to hitting 24 HR on the season (20 in AAA and 4 in the Majors). Despite this breakout, the Brewers felt comfortable enough with their infield depth (ironic given the fact that they just traded for Luis Urias who I’m not a fan of), and they traded him to the Giants for Drew Pomeranz. Come September, Dubon found himself getting regular playing time at both 2B and SS, and looks primed to be the Giants starting 2B going into the 2020 season, so this begs the question: what is his fantasy value?
In terms of just pure hitting, I’m fairly confident that Dubon will hit for a decent average. His lowest average at any level in the minors with at least 200 PA was .290, and he hit a respectable .279 in his time in the majors with the Giants. Dubon has quick hands, and great bat speed, while he also doesn’t strike out a lot, so it’s easy to see why he’s able to hit for average. I think it’s completely reasonable to expect Dubon to hit above .275, and anything higher wouldn’t surprise me at all. While he doesn’t walk very much at all, and could be a bit of a liability in OBP leagues, his average will be a solid contribution in standard leagues. Dubon also found himself hitting leadoff for the Giants at the end of 2019, so while the Giants’ lineup isn’t great, he should be a solid source of runs moving forward.
Where questions begin to be asked is when you look at Dubon’s power. As I mentioned before, he hit a total of 24 HR in 2019, which is a very impressive total, but the underlying numbers don’t exactly point to power for Dubon. While his 20 HR in AAA are impressive, he did so while posting an average fly ball distance under 300 ft., which is well below MLB average. He also did this in the PCL, the most hitter friendly environment in baseball, with the new balls; so there might as well be an asterisk there. Among hitters with at least 50 FB in the majors last year, Dubon’s AAA average flyball distance would rank 3rd from the bottom, ahead of only David Fletcher and Andrelton Simmons. Dubon hit plenty of his HR over 400 ft this year, and his FB distance in his short stint in the majors was a much more respectable 316 ft., so there is power in his bat, I’m just not sure it’s there on a consistent basis. His GB% of 47.7% in the majors is also concerning in regards to his power potential, but given his track record of hitting a decent share of fly balls, I think this was more sample size. San Francisco is also one of the worst parks for hitting HR, so Dubon won’t be getting much help in that regard. I don’t think Dubon is going to repeat his total of 24 HR from last year, but I still think he’ll likely end up in the 12-15 range, which is completely acceptable from a 2B.
From 2015-2017, Dubon stole a total of 98 bases, so you’d think he’d be a good source of SB in fantasy, but he hasn’t quite been the same runner since he tore his ACL in 2018. Between AAA/MLB, he only put up 13 SB in 2019, and his sprint speed only ranked 60th percentile amongst major leaguers. Dubon no longer has the above average speed he possessed a few years ago, but he’s still a decent runner and has solid instincts on the bases. Again I think he likely falls somewhere in the 12-15 range for SB, so while he’s not going to carry your team for SB, he has the potential to be a solid contributor in both HR and SB.
Overall, I think Mauricio Dubon is a bit underrated going into the 2020 season. While I don’t think he’s going to be anything special, he should be a solid contributor at a very weak position, and I think people should be paying more attention to him. I could see Dubon putting up an average around .280, with about 12 HR/12 SB, and 80+ R and 60+ RBI given where he’s projected to hit in the lineup, which is extremely good production for a late round draft pick. He’s obviously more of a deeper league option, but if you’re currently relying on someone like Rougned Odor, Niko Goodrum, Jason Kipnis, or any of the other bottom tier 2B options; I would recommend taking a chance on Dubon over those guys.