PHOENIX -- As part of MLB Pipeline's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we're sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Brewers camp, it was Milwaukee's No. 11 prospect, Mauricio Dubon. Dubon was originally signed out of the Northern California high school ranks in
PHOENIX -- As part of MLB Pipeline's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we're sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Brewers camp, it was Milwaukee's No. 11 prospect, Mauricio Dubon.
Dubon was originally signed out of the Northern California high school ranks in the 26th round of the 2013 Draft. The Brewers acquired him in Dec. 2016 in the Tyler Thornburg trade and Dubon reached Triple-A, not to mention the Futures Game, in his first year in the organization. He hopes to be the first Hondoruan born and raised player to reach the big leagues.
• Brewers camp report
:: MLB Pipeline Spring Training reports ::
MLB Pipeline: Last year, it was your first Spring Training with a new team, you were trying to familiarize yourself with everything and everyone. I would imagine now, it's a little different feel for you?
Dubon: It feels like home now. I know the guys from last year, so I'm more comfortable with them. I'm not afraid to ask questions now. I'm just trying to learn from them.
MLB Pipeline: So last year, you kind of just kept your head down and stayed out of trouble?
Dubon: Yeah, just stay out of trouble. I tried not to step on anybody's toes or anything like that. Now, it's just trying to learn everything from these guys.
MLB Pipeline: Another thing that might make this year different is you're knocking on the big league door now. Does it take on more meaning now because even if you don't break with the team, you still want to make an impression so they know they can call you up when needed?
Dubon: It's always about impressing people and show these guys I can play. I want to show them I can contribute at the big league level. So far it's been going well.
MLB Pipeline: When you made the jump from Double- to Triple-A, what were the biggest differences you saw?
Dubon: It was more mature pitching. Those guys, they make fewer mistakes than guys in Double-A. You have to show you can hit something, otherwise they're going to keep throwing it at you. You have to make the adjustments pitch by pitch.
MLB Pipeline: You had to learn about the business of baseball at an early age when you got traded. Then after a year here, you had bonded with some of your teammates, and they got traded to the Marlins. Has that been hard to deal with?
Dubon: It's baseball. It's going to happen, just like it did with the Red Sox. I still talk to some of the guys with the Red Sox. I still talk to a couple of guys who got traded this year. I was working out with Lewis Brinson when he got traded. That's good for him. But it's business. It's going to happen. Just because he got traded doesn't mean we can't be friends anymore. I still keep in touch with one of my closest friends, Rafael Devers, since I got traded. I talk to him almost every day.
MLB Pipeline: In your heart, maybe you're a shortstop, but I know you've always been willing to play anywhere the team wants you to play. Is there a position you won't play? Would you catch?
Dubon: You want me to pitch? I'll pitch. Catch? I don't mind that, either. Whatever gets me up there. I'm a baseball player. I'm not a shortstop, I'm not a second baseman. I'm a baseball player and I'll play wherever they want me to play and I feel I'll do a pretty good job wherever they want me to play.
MLB Pipeline: You got to play in the Futures Game last year and were able to bring your mom to see you play for the first time. That must have had a huge effect on you.
Dubon: It was fun having my mom there. I felt like I was in Little League all over again, just on a bigger stage. Having her around was great, even though I left the tying run on to end the game. But she was just happy to see me play. She was more nervous than I was. For me, it was another game, but it really started sinking in after when I was getting texts from family and friends. That's when I started feeling a little emotional.
MLB Pipeline: Any plans to bring her here again, say for your Major League debut?
Dubon: She said that if I get called up, no matter where I am, she's going to come and see it. That's a huge deal, not just for us, but for people in my country. She said she'll make the trip.
MLB Pipeline: That leads to talk about your country, Honduras. You've always talked about how important it is to be the first Honduras-born-and-raised player to make it to the big leagues. Even with what you've accomplished so far, have you noticed a difference in baseball there?
Dubon: Oh yeah. That's the greatest thing. Before I got to the United States, there were not many baseball players. Now you have kids going to colleges. There's a kid now, who has been practicing with me since he was 11 years old, we're preparing for him to come to the States and do the same thing I did. He's 16 now. He's going to my high school, staying with a host family, the same thing I did. He's going to be a good one, too.
MLB Pipeline: So there's now a Dubon pipeline from Honduras to Northern California? How important is that so you're not just the first guy from Honduras to make it, but you're also not the last?
Dubon: Yes, that's the crazy thing. That's the main goal, try to put Honduras on the map and show the kids it's not impossible. I was raised the same way they were raised. I played on the same fields they play on. I want them to see it's possible for them to achieve that dream. I want to be more influential to those guys.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.