Southern notes: Dubon fitting in quickly

Brewers No. 9 prospect brings impressive speed to Biloxi lineup

Mauricio Dubon leads the Southern League with 24 stolen bases while batting .298 with a .349 on-base percentage. (Brian McLeod/MiLB.com)

By Guy Curtright / Special to MiLB.com | June 1, 2017 10:30 AM ET

Travis Shaw has already given Milwaukee the edge in its trade with Boston last December, but the hard-hitting third baseman was just part of the return the Brewers received for reliever Tyler Thornburg.

The Red Sox also sent Milwaukee a couple of prospects, and one has been quick to make a very favorable impression.

Speedy shortstop Mauricio Dubon hit .368 during a Cactus League cameo this spring with Milwaukee and has continued to draw plenty of attention during his first eight weeks with the Double-A Biloxi Shuckers.

By mid-April, Dubon had already stolen home in one game and set a team record with four steals in another. The 22-year-old heads into June leading the Southern League with 24 stolen bases and hitting .298 with a .349 on-base percentage while also dazzling in the field.

Video: Biloxi's Dubon swipes home in first inning

It's now more a question of when Dubon -- ranked as Milwaukee's No. 9 prospect -- will be ready for a Major League look, rather than if that day will ever come.

Dubon will be making history when it does.

No one raised in Honduras has made the Majors, although former outfielder Gerald Young was born in the Central American country.

Soccer is the sport of choice in Honduras by a wide margin, and that is unlikely to change. But Dubon has the talent and personality to draw interest baseball's way.

"I love the attention. It's a blessing," said Dubon, a native of San Pedro Sula. "There are not a lot of times you hear a name and they are the first one to do something. I'll work hard for it and will get it."

The opportunity to chase his dream might not have come if it hadn't been for a Christian baseball group mission trip to Honduras when Dubon was 15. The group brought equipment and, it turned out for Dubon, a chance to further his education and enhance his baseball future.

By the next school year, Dubon was a foreign exchange student in California.

"I didn't even know where Sacramento was and my English wasn't the best then," he said. "But I knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity for my education and for my baseball career."

Dubon played two seasons at Capital Christian, batting .509 as a senior. The Red Sox took him in the 26th round of the 2013 Draft and gave him a bonus of $75,000. Afraid he might not have been signed if he stayed in Honduras, Dubon now had his foot in the door and a nice nest egg as well by the standards of his native country.

Dubon hit .306 with Class A Advanced Salem, then .339 for Double-A Portland last season, stealing a combined 44 bases.

The Red Sox took notice, but Boston is in win-now mode. The Brewers jumped at the chance to have the right-handed hitter included in the Thornburg deal, although they already had Orlando Arcia as a shortstop of the future.

Dubon has played some at second base for Biloxi, also saw a little time at third base with the Red Sox and got a look in center field in the Arizona Fall League before the trade.

"I love playing shortstop, but I'm happy to play anywhere I'm needed," he said. "I've worked hard to prepare myself for what is ahead and I'm confident in my ability. I'll be ready when my chance comes."

Dubon certainly has a fan in Shuckers manager Mike Guerrero, who calls his middle infielder and top-of-the-order hitter "a supermarket."

"He's got everything to offer. There's no limit to him," Guerrero said. "He brings a lot of energy and instincts to play the game."

In brief

Playing catch up: Chattanooga left-hander Stephen Gonsalves, who missed the first six weeks of the season because of a shoulder issues, struck out seven and walked none over seven innings in his second start, a no-decision against Montgomery on May 26. He allowed six hits and two runs. Gonsalves, 22, ranks as the Minnesota Twins' No. 2 prospect and No. 83 overall by MLB.com. He was 8-1 with a 1.82 ERA in 13 starts for the Lookouts during the second half of last season.

Youth will be served: After going 16-for-29 in his first seven games, Mississippi center fielder Ronald Acuna had to cool down some, but the 19-year-old is still outperforming his age by far. Through 20 games since his promotion from the Class A Advanced Florida Fire Frogs, the right-handed hitter had a slash line of .390/.448/.623. Acuna, ranked No. 7 among Atlanta Braves prospect and No. 92 overall by MLB.com, has 10 doubles, six triples, six homers, 33 RBIs and 24 stolen bases overall in 48 games. The youngest player in Double-A, Acuna doesn't turn 20 until Dec. 18.

Veteran takes duel: Biloxi right-hander Aaron Wilkerson kept Tennessee from a home series sweep, outpitching right-hander Duane Underwood Jr. for a 2-1 victory May 28. Wilkerson, 28, allowed four hits, walked none and struck out nine over 6 2/3 innings while improving to 4-2 and lowering his ERA to 3.24. Underwood, ranked as the Cubs' No. 15 prospect, allowed four hits, walked three and struck out five in six innings as he fell to 4-3 with a 4.23 ERA. Underwood, 22, was a second-round Draft choice in 2012 but was set back by injuries the past two seasons.

Looking for a win: Mississippi left-hander Max Fried lost his fourth straight start, falling to 2-7 with a 4-2 defeat at Pensacola on May 27. He gave up six hits, walked four and struck out six over 5 2/3 innings, the four earned runs giving him a 5.79 ERA. Fried, 23, is rated as the Atlanta's No. 8 prospect and No. 95 overal. The first-round pick by Arizona in 2012 was acquired by Atlanta while recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery.

Guy Curtright is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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