Since he was called up to the MLB roster on August 27, infielder Mauricio Dubon’s impressive skill set has been on full display. Does the change the San Francisco Giants middle infield plans heading into the offseason?
The San Francisco Giants have struggled to get consistent production from their middle infielders for much of the 2019 season.
Brandon Crawford‘s glove at shortstop has been good, but he continues to struggle with the bat. Meanwhile, the team has cycled through both Joe Panik and Scooter Gennett at second base, before finally calling up Mauricio Dubon.
When Dubon was promoted, it seemed likely that he would get a chance to audition for a future role with the club. However, the assumption was still that the Giants would look for some outside help to bolster the club’s middle infield depth during the offseason.
In just two short weeks in the majors, the 25-year-old has gone from future role player to the likely starting second baseman on Opening Day next season.
With a roster that is filled with mostly aging veterans, Dubon has brought some youthful excitement and intrigue to the table.
He has a broad skill set that includes a knack for hitting, good range, great instincts, and an impressive glove. It is clear that the San Francisco Giants confidence is growing as the team continues to put his name in the lineup on a daily basis, and he has certainly earned the playing time.
The slick-fielding second baseman has recorded a .288/.315/.481 line for a 107 OPS+ in 54 plate appearances. Those are not earth-shattering numbers by any means, and September stats can be misleading due to the expanded rosters.
That said, it’s a good sign that he has not been exposed at the plate. Looking below the surface, there are not many red flags in his peripheral stats.
Dubon, like teammate Kevin Pillar, has a contact-oriented approach as he has struck out in only 11.1 percent of his plate appearances. His 3.7 percent walk rate is low, and that looks like a potential area of improvement in the offseason.
The .288 batting average is paired with a .295 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). So, his early production is not the product of extreme good fortune, but rather the BABIP is consistent with what he has produced throughout his minor league career.
In addition to this, Dubon boasts a healthy 28.3 percent line-drive rate to go along with a 26.1 percent fly ball rate. He is doing well to keep the ball off the ground and all of these rates are positive signs.
He also offers excellent range and a high baseball IQ with the glove as well:
A play like that is not one you would typically see from a rookie. He seems to have instincts well above his experience level, and he continues to show it off.
The defensive metrics like Dubon’s work at both second base and shortstop. A disclaimer needs to be added that defensive metrics in small samples can be very misleading. While it may be too early to give him the Gold Glove at either position, it is yet another positive sign.
All things considered, the early returns on the Dubon acquisition are overwhelmingly positive. The San Francisco Giants may have found their second baseman of the future. While the team will look to add more middle infielders in the offseason, it now seems apparent that those additions will be more for depth or bench roles.
Dubon’s emergence gives the Giants coverage at a key position. Plus, it will allow team president Farhan Zaidi to look to make roster improvements in other areas.
He also does things like this, which will go a long way in staying in the lineup:
It’s been a season of highs and lows for the Giants, and with the team now out of contention, the focus is once again on the future.
Rookie second baseman Mauricio Dubon arrived on the scene in August and he appears to be here to stay thanks to an excellent start to his San Francisco Giants career.