On Tuesday the Milwaukee Brewers announced that infield prospect Mauricio Dubon has a torn left ACL and will miss the rest of 2018. He injured the knee during Saturday’s game for the Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
Overnight I got a private message from a reader over twitter asking for my thoughts about Dubon and how the knee injury could impact his development. So, let’s do that.
Pre-season, I had Dubon ninth on the Brewers Top 20 Prospects for 2018 list with this comment:
9) Mauricio Dubon, INF, Grade B-: Age 23, drafted in the 26th round by the Boston Red Sox in 2013 from high school in Sacramento, California; traded to Brewers in December 2016; hit combined .274/.330/.382 with eight homers, 38 steals, 39 walks, 76 strikeouts in 492 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A; best tool is running speed but he’ll occasionally surprise you with some power; good arm but range works better at second base than shortstop; ETA 2018.
Dubon was off to a hot start before the injury, hitting .343/.348/.574 with four homers and six stolen bases. He’s fanned 19 times in 108 at-bats while only drawing two walks. Rumors indicated he would probably move up to Milwaukee soon but the torn ACL intervened.
We are still early enough in the season for sample size to be an issue although we can discern some trends.
Reports from the Pacific Coast League indicate that Dubon is showing more power this year, likely due to a combination of physical maturity and a more aggressive hitting approach. His walk rate is down significantly (5.74 in ‘17 to 1.82 this year) and his whiff rate is up (13.93 vs 17.27), although the K-rate is not out of bounds. The sharp increase in isolated power could be worth the tradeoff. As we noted in the pre-season comment Dubon could flash surprising power in past seasons and was doing it more often in ‘18.
Of course the trend may not have held in a larger sample as pitchers could adapt and exploit his new aggressiveness. Even if the PCL didn’t figure him out, MLB pitchers could do so. Unfortunately the knee injury means we’ll have to wait and see on that next year. It also remains to be seen if the injury will reduce his speed on the bases or range at shortstop.
Bottom line: we don’t know if his new approach will hold up against major league pitching and we don’t know if the knee problem will inhibit his other skills. Even with a full knee recovery that has no impact on his speed and range, he’s going to lose a year of development time.
I’m sticking with the B- for now.