October 13, 2014 at 10:18 AM
For the next five weeks, SoxProspects.com will count down its end-of-season top 40 prospects, recapping their seasons and looking at what's ahead for them in 2015. Note, of course, that we will be using the site's official end-of-season rankings, meaning that any changes after September 26 will not be reflected in the countdown. You can find all of the entries in this year's series here.
#40: Dan Butler, C
2014 Teams: Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston Red Sox
Final Stats: 325 PA, .241/.317/.350, 19 2B, 4 HR, 71 K, 29 BB (minors)
20 PA, .211/.250/.368, 3 2B, 5 K, 1BB (majors)
Season in Review: Butler's unassuming 2014 stat line belies what was at least one big success, as the former undrafted free agent became one of the more unlikely players to make the climb through the Red Sox system in recent years, making his major league debut on August 10. The 27-year-old ended up appearing in seven games during two stints on the major league roster, with a highlight coming in a 3-for-4, two-double performance against Baltimore on September 10. Butler spent most of the year with Pawtucket, where he spent much of the season deferring to Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart. However, the organization showed that even with those two top prospects taking many of the reps behind the plate, it still wanted to keep his bat sharp, giving him 28 starts at designated hitter. - James Dunne
#39: Mauricio Dubon, SS
2014 Team: Lowell Spinners
Final Stats: 274 PA, .320/.377/.395, 8 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 26 K, 9 BB, 7 SB
Season in Review: The athletic Dubon, selected in the 26th round of the 2013 draft, excelled in his first full professional season. He struck out at an organization-low of once every 10.5 plate appearances despite being just 19 in the New York-Penn League. Dubon finished second in the circuit in hits (82) and seventh in runs (40), while also impressing on defense. He made all 66 of his starts at shortstop displacing former bonus baby Raymel Flores from the position even though Flores had shown the ability to handle short just fine in the past, a sign of the club's confidence in Dubon. A native Honduran, Dubon lived with a host family in California for high school in the hopes of pursuing his baseball dreams here. He certainly seems off to a good start. - James Dunne
Scouting Report and 2015 Outlook: Dubon was one of the more consistent performers this year with Lowell, both at the plate and in the field. Dubon has a lean, athletic frame, listed at 6-foot-0, 160 pounds. At the plate, Dubon has a contact hitter's profile with quick hands and solid hand-eye coordination. He is still developing an approach and gets caught too often out in front of secondary offerings. Dubon does make a lot of contact, but this can hurt him at times, as he has a tendency to make weak contact against pitches that he would be better suited laying off. Dubon has limited power at present and it will not be a big part of his game in the future. In the field, Dubon projects as a solid-average to plus defender at shortstop in the future. His actions are fluid and he has solid range in both directions. He is confident coming in on the ball and has shown soft hands. At times his footwork and posture can get sloppy, but that improved over the course of the season. His arm plays as solid-average, and he has shown on multiple occasions the arm strength to make the throw from the hole both from a set position and using a jump. Barring something unforeseen, Dubon will break camp with Greenville in 2015. Depending on the presence of other infielders at a similar stage of development, such as Javier Guerra, Dubon may have to move around a bit, playing other positions such as second base and outfield, which he should be able to handle based on his defensive tools. - Ian Cundall
Additional editorial support provided by Jonathan Singer.
Photo Credit: Dan Butler and Mauricio Dubon by Kelly O'Connor.