PHOENIX -- The newest of the Brewers' young shortstops would like to add "pioneer" next to the word prospect.Mauricio Dubon, the 22-year-old acquired in a December trade with the Red Sox, is bidding to be the first player born and raised in Honduras to make it to the Major Leagues.
PHOENIX -- The newest of the Brewers' young shortstops would like to add "pioneer" next to the word prospect.
Mauricio Dubon, the 22-year-old acquired in a December trade with the Red Sox, is bidding to be the first player born and raised in Honduras to make it to the Major Leagues. Former Astros outfielder Gerald Young was born in the Central American nation, but he grew up in the U.S., while Dubon did not migrate until he was 15, traveling with a Christian baseball mission group. Dubon went to high school in Sacramento, Calif., and the Red Sox made him a 26th-round pick in the 2013 Draft.
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"It's something interesting and amazing when you get to hear your name as the first one of anything," Dubon said. "Hopefully, I get to be the first one and not the last one."
Dubon is leaning on some of the lessons he learned while acclimating to life in the U.S. during his current move. In December, the Red Sox packaged him with third baseman Travis Shaw and Minor League pitcher Josh Pennington and a player to be named in a trade for Brewers reliever Tyler Thornburg.
Dubon joined MLBPipeline.com's list of the top Brewers prospects at No. 9, and he could move higher when the updated rankings are released next week. Dubon has been getting to know some of his fellow prospects during the club's invitational Minor League minicamp.
"It's like going to a new school," Dubon said. "I've done that before already. I went from Honduras to the States, and now I'm going from the Red Sox to Milwaukee. It's pretty much the same."
The day of the trade, he said, "I got the phone call in the morning. I was shocked. I was happy, because that's better for my future; I don't have Xander Bogaerts in front of me. I don't have Dustin Pedroia in front of me. The guys that are here are pretty good, too. I just have to work harder. I [can't] get complacent. So it shocked me a little bit, but then I was happy about the opportunity."
Dubon has become fast friends with another top prospect, Isan Diaz. Both are natural shortstops, but they have dabbled at other positions, Diaz primarily at second base and Dubon at second and third before adding center field to his playbook during last year's Arizona Fall League.
That positional versatility could prove important, since former No. 1 prospect Orlando Arcia is just gaining a foothold at shortstop in Milwaukee.
"Whatever gets me up there," Dubon said, "I'll do it."
Brewers GM David Stearns has not ruled out pushing Dubon to Triple-A in his age-22 season. Last year, at three years below the average age of the Double-A Eastern League, Dubon hit .339/.371/.538 at Portland.
This season will bring another transition for a player who already crossed a continent to chase his baseball dream.
"It was interesting in the beginning. New culture, new environment and everything," Dubon said. "It was a little challenging. I knew English a little bit, but not as good as I know it now. It was missing my family more than anything else.
"I knew I had a great chance, a great opportunity to be here. Now I'm taking advantage of this."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.