Baseball players tend to make unique sacrifices to chase their dreams. Whether it's bypassing college for that once-in-a-lifetime offer out of high school, changing positions for a better opportunity or taking less money to go with another franchise, each player faces a crossroads at some point in his career.
Mauricio Dubon knows all about making sacrifices to chase his dream. As a scrawny 15-year-old living with his family in Honduras, Dubon was given a choice: remain at home, which was the easy decision, or join a Christian missionary baseball team on its way back to California, live with a family he had never met and trust that a franchise would take a chance on his raw skills.
Dubon made the choice that helped him follow his dream.
"I knew it was going to pay off eventually. Nothing good comes easy," Dubon said. "I had to make a sacrifice, and I still do have to make sacrifices. You have to give to get back. That's what I did. I gave when I was 15 and I'm still giving when I'm 21. Right now it's paying off."
Dubon, a shortstop, has flourished since being selected in the 26th round of the 2013 Draft by Boston, becoming the Red Sox No. 12 prospect and playing an integral role as Salem clinched the Southern Division first-half title.
That remarkable rise through the farm system wouldn't have been possible without the sacrifice he had to make in 2010.
Dubon was a sophomore at Lyceum Bilingual Central when Impact Baseball International made its mission trip to Honduras to help rebuild a baseball field and bring needed medical attention to the Central American country. The group arrived on a Sunday, and by Tuesday the coaches saw Dubon's raw skills on the baseball diamond.
Dubon was offered the opportunity to return to Sacramento with the team and continue his baseball odyssey. His mother, Jeannette Garcia, didn't hesitate to tell him to follow his dream.
By that Friday, Dubon had a tourist visa and was heading stateside.
"It's hard, but I knew it was worth it and God had a plan for me," Dubon said. "At the time it was hard because I was 15 years old, leaving my mom, leaving my brother, leaving my dad, it was not easy. I knew it was going to be worth it at some point."
Dubon attended Capital Christian School in his new home of Sacramento. He joined the baseball team and excelled with his new teammates.
"I knew I was really good. It was just a matter of giving me a chance, and these people gave me the chance," Dubon said. "In high school, I did really well. It was just a matter of getting looks because I came from a small high school and a lot of people were focusing on big high schools. I wasn't considering going somewhere else because I came here too late. I knew it was good. It was just a matter of having the right time to showcase."
Dubon has been stellar at the plate and in the field with the Red Sox organization. He is a career .301 hitter with a .950 fielding percentage in the Minors, and he joined Yoan Moncada as Salem's representatives for the Carolina League in the upcoming California League/Carolina League All-Star Game.
Dubon still visits Honduras every winter to see his family. His father, Danilo Dubon, has visited stateside to see him play, but his mother is waiting until he makes his Major League debut to come to the states.
"Right now, I know it's a process," Dubon said. "I'm not trying to rush it. I know I've got time."
Here comes the power: Myrtle Beach catcher Gioskar Amaya was going through a home-run drought that dated back to last season with Class A South Bend, but he finally got going over the past two weeks. Amaya has been dynamic in his last 11 games with five home runs and a .649 on-base percentage. He has four homers in his last three games.
All he does is hit: Carolina first baseman Joey Meneses, the reigning Carolina League Player of the Week, hasn't slowed down from his stellar week. He drove in a career-high five runs in Monday night's victory at Lynchburg and is batting .576/.600/.909 with six doubles, one triple, one home run and 12 RBIs over his last eight games through Monday.
The save situation: When Washington drafted Ryan Brinley in the 27th round last year, the former Sam Houston State closer was being groomed to be in that role for the big league club. He's become a stalwart in the bullpen for the Potomac Nationals with a league-leading nine saves in 10 opportunities. Brinley has struck out 25 batters and walked only four in 23 1/3 innings.
Damien Sordelett is a contributor to MiLB.com.