Mauricio Dubon will be at center field on Opening Day. Unless he’s at second base. Or shortstop. Maybe right field. He’ll be somewhere, though, because he’s part of the Giants’ present, a bendable fielder who never seems to break wherever you put him.
The nearly 26-year-old, though, also hopes to be part of the team’s future. And when he looks at the guys to his left and right both in Scottsdale and in San Francisco, sees the live batting practices the Giants have been taking, he sees optimistic visions about where the team is and where it is going.
“I’m excited to see how everybody is doing,” Dubon said on a Zoom call Sunday. “I’ve said this before: How many times you’ve seen the Giants were favored to win the World Series? Never.
“So for me, I see the team and every time I see it, I’m like, We got a chance. We got a really good chance to do something.”
He singled out Pablo Sandoval’s Saturday home run, saying the 13th-year infielder is “unreal.” Hunter Pence, Brandon Crawford and Yolmer Sanchez were referenced, too, for a team that will (hopefully) enter this 60-game season with low external expectations.
“If people go out there and play and do what we’re supposed to be doing, we’re going to be pretty good,” Dubon said.
It is a dream that requires some Ambien. Yet, there is a clearer picture toward contention in the Giants’ future that is taking shape at Oracle Park. The prospects who have been more gossiped about than actually seen live are now in camp, entrenched in the pool to keep them from missing a year of development, and the view of the future is certainly alluring.
As are the sounds.
“The Luciano kid hit a home run that, as soon as he hit it, that was the loudest sound of the bat I’ve heard so far,” Dubon said of Marco Luciano, just 18 and already looking right at home at Oracle Park.
💥 Marco Luciano 💥 pic.twitter.com/hhMBjw5NxL
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) July 8, 2020
He called Heliot Ramos a “great athlete,” saying he and Luciano are “impressive kids.” Emphasis on the second word.
“They’re really mature for their age. When I was 18 years old, I think I was still grinding in high school at that time.”
In both camps this year, Dubon has gone back to school. The longtime infielder has been recast as a utilityman, figuring to get a lot of looks at center field, where the Giants are thin. His last experience in the outfield came in five games in the 2016 Arizona Fall League.
He made some calls during the break in baseball, including to Brewers outfield coordinator Quintin Berry, who advised him to “just catch the ball,” Dubon said. Easy enough.
Dubon said he’s comfortable in the outfield, but then again, he was comfortable in the outfield when he entered camp in Feburary, too. The reps help, but so does a confidence that tells him he will perform wherever his feet are.
He’s getting the reps in camp and in less than two weeks may be the starting center fielder against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers.
“All the stuff that I’m putting into play right now, it’s showing,” said Dubon, who’s confident about himself, his team’s present and his team’s future.