New Brewer Mauricio Dubon on Baseball (and Soccer)

Mauricio Dubon is one of three players — Travis Shaw and Josh Pennington are the others —going from Boston to Milwaukee in exchange for Tyler Thornburg. He’s a promising prospect with a unique background. A shortstop with a good glove, the 22-year-old Dubon grew up in Honduras, and moved to California as a teenager to chase his baseball dreams. Drafted by the Red Sox out of a Sacramento high school in 2013, Dubon slashed .323/.379/.461 between high-A Salem and Double-A Portland this season.

Dubon has twice been featured in my Sunday Notes column. In 2014, I wrote about his journey from Honduras to professional baseball. Three months ago, I touched on his breakthrough season, which was impacted by advice he’s received from Xander Bogaerts.

Here is an edited version of my full conversation with Dubon from this past August.


Dubon on his development: “I’m not surprised by how far I’ve come — I’ve never doubted my ability — but I am surprised by one thing. In spring training, I got to play in a few games. I got to share the field with big-leaguers like David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, and Xander Bogaerts. I got to go to Canada (for the exhibition games in Montreal). I wasn’t expecting that.

“I learn by watching, and those things really helped me out. whenever David would talk, I’d be sure to listen. He’s one of the greatest players ever. And I always ask questions. I never stay quiet. I would ask Bogie what to do at short. He would tell me stuff about throwing the baseball, like making sure I get rid of it quick. Hitting, too. For example, ‘What are you thinking with this type of pitcher?’”

“I still ask him things. We text each other to see how we’re doing. We have a pretty good relationship. Bogie is like a big brother to me. At the end of the conversations, he always tells me, ‘Hey, get three hits today.’ I tell him to get three hits, too.”

On playing with Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada: “I got a lot of fastballs when they were (in Portland). I had them first, but then I had them behind me. It’s special to able to share the field with those guys. Benintendi is killing it in the big leagues, and Moncada will too. It’s unreal how those guys play the game.

“Moncada is a funny guy. Because of the language barrier, a lot of people don’t know that. But he’s come along really far with English. I’ve translated for him. Before, when he talked with (nonSpanish-speaking) teammates I had to help him a lot. Now he just goes up them and talks. He’s hilarious.”

On Bogaerts and soccer celebrations: “Bogie and I talk a lot about soccer. He’s a Barcelona fan and I’m a Real Madrid fan, which makes it even more fun. We play a lot of (FIFA 2016) together in spring training. He beat me a couple of times — I’ll give him that — but next spring training I’ll do better. And Real is better than Barcelona, too. Way better. I tell him that.

“I always watch when it’s on TV. As far as the game… some people celebrate different ways. Soccer has their way, and we have our way. I like to stay quiet and act like I’ve done it before. But my personality… I am (outgoing). I’m approachable. I treat people like I want to be treated. It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice, too.”

On growing up in Honduras: “It’s home for me. That’s where I grew up, and it’s the place that made me who I am. I have never lost my roots. I always go back, every year. There are a lot of good players — baseball players — in Honduras. I try to be as involved as I can. I try to make it fun, and have everybody come out and watch.

“I like to help the little kids. All of my stuff, I give it away. I try to motivate them. Honduras is a soccer country, and I want to show how much fun the game (of baseball) is. I want them to see the dream is not far away.”

David Laurila grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and now writes about baseball from his home in Cambridge, Mass. He authored the Prospectus Q&A series at Baseball Prospectus from December 2006-May 2011 before being claimed off waivers by FanGraphs. He can be followed on Twitter @DavidLaurilaQA.

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“I treat people like I want to be treated. It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice, too.”

Sounds like the Brewers got more than just a great ballplayer.