The Milwaukee Brewers made the decision to call up top prospect Keston Hiura on Tuesday morning, bypassing another worthy infielder in Mauricio Dubon.
If it weren’t for a very unfortunate ACL tear last April, shortly before he was due to get the call up, Mauricio Dubon would’ve already made his debut with the Milwaukee Brewers. Now, he has to wait even longer to get his shot.
The Brewers planned to give Dubon some time in Triple-A to start the season to get his legs back under him after nearly a year off with the injury. Now that we’re a month and a half into the season, he’s had plenty of at-bats to get ready. But he didn’t get the call. Instead, Keston Hiura did.
Why Not Mauricio Dubon?
For Milwaukee, with Travis Shaw‘s injury and slump issues, they needed a hot, threatening bat in their lineup. With Shaw out, Mike Moustakas is an obvious choice to move back to third base, especially with two strong middle infield candidates at Triple-A in Dubon and Hiura. And despite spending more time in Triple-A and a little more experienced, Hiura got the call over Dubon.
Let’s look at the stat lines for both players in San Antonio this season:
Dubon: 135 ABs, .267/.303/.430 slash line, 7 doubles, 5 HR, 6 BB, 22 Ks, 5 SB
Hiura: 129 ABs, .333/.408/.698 slash line, 12 doubles, 11 HR, 15 BB, 40 Ks, 4 SB
Hiura’s line is obviously better than Dubon’s production so far, but Dubon’s line is still respectable and he’s been ready for the call for a while now.
However, in the game of baseball, things aren’t that simple. It’s not simply about being ready the longest, it’s about providing the most upside, and Hiura’s upside is simply higher than Dubon’s.
Earning A Shot
Dubon earned a shot last year, prior to his injury. But the injury forced him to lose that spot. While he’s battled back and played well, it wasn’t enough to fend off the up-and-coming Hiura.
Since Dubon has been ready for quite some time, and has a lower ceiling than Hiura, one could argue that it would’ve made more sense to call up Dubon instead to prevent Hiura’s service clock from starting, allowing them to keep control over Hiura for a longer period of time. By giving Dubon the first chance, they could’ve saved Hiura for later and if Dubon worked out, then it’s a win-win situation.
Instead, GM David Stearns and the Milwaukee Brewers are going for the highest upside first, giving Hiura the first shot at the job.
Dubon’s Future In Milwaukee
Choosing Hiura over Dubon is very telling about the Milwaukee Brewers plans are with Dubon. While he started out a couple levels ahead of Hiura, he couldn’t get the chance to earn the starting second base job before Hiura caught up to him. If he had, Hiura might have become expendable, and a trade piece for a top starting pitcher or something.
Instead, Dubon is now the one that becomes expendable. The Brewers likely aren’t going to trade him this July, because they may end up needing him as a solid depth piece and in case of injury up at the big league level. But if Hiura is raking and healthy, then Dubon becomes a valuable trade chip.
I would expect Dubon to get traded someplace else during this upcoming offseason. It’s clear that his big league future is not in Milwaukee, which is unfortunate because he’s an easy guy to root for, a hard worker, and a great player deserving of a shot. It just appears he won’t get that shot with the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Brewers have made their will known. It’s Keston Hiura time in Milwaukee, and it’s not Mauricio Dubon time, and it may never be.