On Day Two of the 2016 MLB Winter Meetings, the Milwaukee Brewers traded pitcher Tyler Thornburg to the Boston Red Sox for third baseman Travis Shaw and two prospects: infielder Mauricio Dubon and right-handed pitcher Josh Pennington. Here's a quick take on the two newest members of the Milwaukee farm system.
Mauricio Dubon, SS: Dubon is originally from Honduras but moved to the United States for high school and was drafted in the 26th round in 2013, from Capital Christian in Sacramento, California. His 2015 and 2016 seasons were very successful: he rang up a .288/.349/.376 line in Low-A and High-A in '15, followed by a .323/.379/.461 mark in '16 split between High-A and Double-A. He was particularly effective late in the year with a .538 SLG in 62 games for Portland.
Despite his power surge this year, Dubon isn't a big guy, listed at just 6-0, 160. A right-handed hitter, his best tool is above-average running speed; he swiped 30 bases in both '15 and '16. An efficient contact hitter, he's not a walk machine but makes contact and showed greater ability to drive the ball for distance in '16 thanks to physical maturity. He's not expected to hit a large number of home runs but should provide enough pop to the gaps to hit doubles and triples. He has enough range and arm strength to play shortstop and has looked very good during occasional trials at second base. I would rate him as a solid Grade B prospect at present.
Josh Pennington, RHP: Pennington was drafted in the 29th round in 2014 from high school in Lower Cape May, New Jersey. He made 13 starts in 2016 for Lowell in the New York-Penn League, posting a 2.86 ERA in 57 innings with a 49/27 K/BB, 36 hits allowed, and a 1.04 GO/AO.
Pennington is a 6-0, 175 pound right-hander, age 20. His draft position is deceptive, as he was coming off Tommy John surgery and could have gone 25 rounds higher if healthy. He's healthy now and hit a reported 97-98 MPH this summer. His curveball and change-up need more polish, a fact reflected in a strikeout rate that doesn't quite match his velocity, but with more innings both of his off-speed pitches could be at least average. At present he rates as a Grade C+ prospect with a chance for more as he builds his stamina back.