SF Giants’ utility player Mauricio Dubon has thrived in his new center field role this summer.
Mauricio Dubon ended last season as the SF Giants‘ starting second baseman. After spending pretty much all of his professional career as a shortstop, it seemed as though his future was still in the middle infield, albeit shifted over to the right side.
However, that notion changed going into the 2020 season.
The Giants made the decision to switch Dubon over from a typical second baseman to more of a utility player in the mold of someone like Chris Taylor of the Los Angeles Dodgers. And in doing so, he began playing the outfield for the first time in his career.
Almost instantly, Dubon looked right at home in his new role excelling as a center fielder quicker than anyone could have expected. His impressive performance in the spring made it seem as though he was destined for a significant role once the 2020 season started.
And then the season didn’t start and Dubon and the rest of the Giants were sent home.
Mauricio Dubon is once against impressing the SF Giants now that camp has been restarted.
But now that teams have reconvened, Dubon has picked up right where he left off. Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports even went as far as to say that he “looks like a natural in center field” despite the fact that he is anything but.
Pavlovic had the following say about Dubon’s transition.
"“He has looked smooth and athletic out there, and he had the highlight of Wednesday’s game, a running catch at the track in deep right-center to rob Tyler Heineman of extra bases. Dubon always has played the infield with some flare and that has translated out to the grass. He punctuated that catch by leaping up and bumping his left shoulder against the padded wall.”"
Dubon is earning praise from analysts, his teammates, and his own coaching staff. And it’s easy to see why the Giants are so high on him for the future — wherever he may end up playing.
Manager Gabe Kapler went on to say the following about the strides that Dubon has made.
"“The improvement has been noticeable, not just by his teammates, but by our outfield coaches as well. Pretty immediately, (outfield coach) Antoan Richardson noted that he’s much more comfortable in the outfield and getting better reads.”"
Dubon has always been a great athlete so seeing him adapt so well to his new position isn’t incredibly surprising. And as the young batter has insisted, it’s more of a mental thing than anything.
"“My adaptability is pretty good. I’ve just got to switch my brain. Wherever I play, I’m that position. If I’m playing center field, I’m a center fielder. If I’m playing right field, I’m a right fielder. If I’m playing shortstop, I’m a shortstop. If I’m playing third base, I’m a third baseman.”"
That’s some pretty sound logic, and it’s hard to argue with that perspective.
Dubon isn’t approaching the center field position as if he’s still playing shortstop. He recognizes that they’re two completely different positions and should be approached as such.
Rather, he has to mentally prepare himself for playing in center field when he does. Evidently, that strategy is paying off.
Mauricio Dubon continues to prove his versatility to the Giants and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him open up the season as the starting center fielder.
The transition has gone that well.