December 11, 2015 at 8:00 AM
This week, we recap the next six players in the season-end Top 40, going from 22 to 17. All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.
#18 Mauricio Dubon, SS/2B
2015 Teams: Greenville Drive, Salem Red Sox
Final Stats: 531 PA, .288/.349/.376, 5 HR, 41 BB, 72 K
2015 Peak Ranking: 15 (Current)
Season In Review: 2014
Season in Review: Dubon continued to do in 2015 what he’s done since being drafted in the 26th round of the 2013 draft: make contact. The 21-year-old righty got off to a hot start in Greenville, collecting a hit in 14 of his first 16 games. Dubon had a .301/.354/.428 slash line with the Drive in 58 games and had an impressive 22 multi-hit games. He also recorded 19 of his 29 extra-base hits with Greenville. While he didn’t totally fall off after his promotion, facing more advanced pitching with Salem was a definite challenge. Dubon hit .274 in High-A, but his power numbers declined steeply, with just one homer and no triples in 269 plate appearances. By the end of the season, Dubon began to show signs of adjustment. He entered August hitting only .231 at High-A and finished at a .323 pace in August and September. He also showcased his speed for the first time in 2015, racking up 30 steals on the year. That tally ranked fourth in the Red Sox system behind only Yoan Moncada, Manuel Margot and Quintin Berry. -Eric Gendron
Scouting Report and 2016 Outlook: Dubon features a skinny, 6-feet, 160-pound frame. He will need to add muscle to be able to withstand the rigors of a full season, although he held up well in his first full season this year, playing in 120 games, third-most in the system. He starts his hitting stance upright with his bat straight up. He utilizes a high leg kick that begins well before the pitch. He needs to work on developing an approach at the plate, as he often looks like he is guessing before the pitch even comes, and can be caught off guard when he guesses wrong. His hands are quick enough that he makes a lot of contact, but it is not consistently good contact. He has very little power due to his small frame, and does not project to have more than below-average power.
In the field, Dubon projects to be able to field three positions in the infield adequately. At shortstop, he is fluid with good range going both ways and quick hands. He arm strength grades out at 55-60 at short, playing up even more on the right side of the infield. He also possesses above-average-to-plus speed that he is still learning to utilize to its full potential on the basepaths.
With Javier Guerra traded, Dubon will no longer need to either cede most of the reps at shortstop or have to play up a level from where he probably should be, both of which he did at times in 2015. A return to Salem to start the year will be fine for the 21-year-old, with a move up to Portland in the second half of the season possible with continued improvement, especially at the plate. - Chris Hatfield
#17 Marco Hernandez, SS
2015 Teams: Portland Sea Dogs, Pawtucket Red Sox
Final Stats: 484 PA, .305/.330/.454, 9 HR, 17 BB, 88 K
2015 Peak Ranking: 14 (Current)
Season in Review: Not much was made about the acquisition of Marco Hernandez when he was announced as the player to be named later in the Felix Dubront trade with the Cubs. In 2015, Hernandez turned out to be one of the most pleasant surprises in the Red Sox farm system. The 23-year-old native of the Dominican Republic tore the cover off the ball in his first experience at the Double-A level. In 68 games for Portland, he hit at a .326/.349/.482 clip with 30 extra-base hits, including 21 doubles. Those numbers earned him a spot in the Eastern League All-Star game - played this year at Portland’s Hadlock Field - where he went 2 for 2 with a home run and earned the game’s MVP honors.
The very next day, Hernandez was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket. After a hot start, Hernandez struggled for most of August and saw his average dip down to .226 on Aug. 27 and his strikeout total spike. He persevered, however, battling back to finish with a .271/.300/.409 slash line for Pawtucket. He put an exclamation point on his 2015 season with a 4-for-5 day in the PawSox season finale with two runs, a double, a home run and four RBI. Boston added Hernandez to its 40-man roster on Nov. 20. He is currently playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic for the Tigres de Licey where he is hitting .275 with a pair of homers in 102 at-bats. -Eric Gendron
Scouting Report and 2016 Outlook: A rather unheralded prospect coming into the season, Hernandez impressed with his bat in both Portland and Pawtucket. Hernandez has an average, athletic frame, listed at 6-foot-0, 170 pounds. He has a short quick bat and solid bat control, and showed off solid contact skills this year. Hernandez does have some swing and miss in his game brought around by his aggressiveness at the plate as he doesn’t take many pitches and likes to attack early in the count. As a result, his on-base percentage will never be that high, somewhat limiting his value if he doesn’t continue to hit like he did this year. Hernandez has below-average power potential with more gap power than over the fence. He projects as an average hitter who could hit around 10 home runs at the big league level with 25 or so doubles if given enough at-bats. Hernandez has the potential to add value at the plate, though his long-term potential is mostly tied to how he develops in the field.
Hernandez played mainly shortstop this year where he showed solid range and actions, and a solid-average arm but his hands and footwork were rough. He made 27 errors this year, with a lot of them coming on fairly routine plays that need to be made consistently. He has the defensive tools to play a potentially average-to-better second base, though if he can develop into even a fringe-average shortstop, capable of playing their a few times a week, his value rises significantly. At this point, it is tough to project Hernandez as more than a utility player at the big league level. He has some average tools, but no true carrying tool. As a utility player capable of playing all the infield positions except first base, Hernandez could add real value to a big league club, whether it be the Red Sox or another team via a trade. Hernandez will start 2016 in Pawtucket with the eye towards making his big league debut at some point this season should the Red Sox need infield help. - Ian Cundall
Photo credit: Kelly O'Connor
Photo credit: Kelly O'Connor