While the SF Giants 2020 season was a fun one, it was a shame that it was only 60 games since Mauricio Dubon was beginning to put together a solid season.
SF Giants outfielder Dubon got off to a slow start this season but showed considerable improvement as the season wore on. That could be a testament to the coaching staff’s effectiveness.
In the first two months of the season, the right-handed bat slashed a .275/.314/.325 line with just one home run and seven RBI in 88 plate appearances. On top of this, he had posted a 22.7 strikeout rate against a 5.7 walk rate.
The batting average was good, but it was an empty stat as he was not hitting for nearly enough power or getting on base at an acceptable rate. Being an average-dependent player on offense is a very difficult way to generate value.
As his struggles continued, the Giants made a really smart decision. They sat him for three games to get his head straight and, I am assuming, to work on his approach with the hitting coaches. I am making that assumption because when he returned, he looked like a different hitter at the plate.
In the final month of the season, the 26-year-old posted a .273/.360/.455 line with three home runs and 12 RBI in 89 plate appearances. Furthermore, he boasted a solid 11.2 percent walk rate against a 17.9 percent strikeout rate.
Plus, he nearly knocked the Giants into the playoffs:
His power may not fully develop, but if he can maintain the plate discipline and patience that he demonstrated down the stretch, he can easily carve out a key role on a competitive Giants team. This is especially true when you factor in that he produced a solid .885 OPS in 50 plate appearances against left-handed hurlers.
Below the surface, Dubon posted a strong 16.7-degree launch angle, which is yet another positive sign and a difference we saw with this year’s offense.
In the field, the Honduras native saw much more time in the outfield than I would have expected before this season began. Before the 2020 season, Dubon had a total of 44 professional innings in the outfield, but he had not seen the outfield grass since 2016.
However, Donovan Solano forced his way into the everyday lineup with his bat while appearing primarily at second base. This shifted Dubon to the outfield, and he experienced the highs and lows that come with a learning curve.
When the season finished, the 26-year-old looked much more comfortable in center field. He had proven capable of handling the outfield and showed the type of growth that you want to see out of a young player.
You won’t confuse him with Kevin Kiermaier out there, but even the defensive metrics indicated that he was about league-average with the glove, which is a good benchmark to reach. On the year, he was worth one DRS and -1.7 UZR. These are passable marks, especially for a player with so little experience in the outfield.
While he showed growth at the plate and in the field in 2020, I think his baserunning is one area that needs to improve. In several instances, Dubon made key baserunning mistakes that really made you scratch your head. I hope that with more experience, we see less of this.
In total, this was a nice step forward for the right-handed bat. He demonstrated progress in the batter’s box down the stretch and handled the challenge of a position change like a veteran.
The SF Giants are beginning to build quality depth in the outfield, and Dubon is emerging as another piece of the puzzle to go along with Slater, Alex Dickerson, and Mike Yastrzemski. This could quietly become the most productive outfield group since Barry Bonds roamed left field.