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April 14, 2020 at 6:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Where are they Now? (Infielders edition)

4/14 Cup of Coffee: For our Tuesday morning edition, we'll check in around the league with some familiar faces. We'll start out with a quintet of infielders.

One of the more popular players in the system, both among his teammates and fans, Dubon went to Milwaukee as part of the Tyler Thornburg trade. He had a solid 2017 campaign in the Brewers system and raced off to a hot start in 2018, tallying a 23-game hitting streak that seemed to have him on the cusp of his first taste of the majors. An ACL tear on May 5 ended his season, a particularly untimely injury given that the Brewers went through that season with a below-average committee manning the keystone. Healthy in 2019, Dubon hit .297/.333/.475 for Triple-A San Antonio in 98 games before getting the call. 

Dubon made his major league debut on July 7 as a pinch hitter, grounding out in his only plate appearance. His time in Milwaukee was short lived—five days later, the Brewers dealt him to San Francisco for fireballer Ray Black and old friend Drew Pomeranz. He split his time between Triple-A and the majors, going 29 for 104 with the Giants and homering off of Clayton Kershaw in September. Dubon was set to make the Giants out of spring training. Manager Gabe Kapler had him in the mix for starting at second base on opening day, and also planned to use him in the outfield. 


Like Dubon, Asuaje went to the National League as part of a 4-for-1 deal for a reliever, albeit one that worked out better for the Sox. Asuaje spent parts of three seasons in the majors with the Padres, hitting .240/.312/.329 in 175 games between 2016 and 2018. A utility player in the minors, Asuaje played second base almost exclusively during his MLB run. He was designated for assignment after the season and claimed by the Rangers, but later was released to pursue an opportunity with the Lotte Giants of the KBO. He came back stateside in June on a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks, and moved on to the Cubs organization in the offseason. Off of the 40-man roster, Asuaje was expected to be assigned to Triple-A Iowa where he would provide organizational depth for a Cubs team that could use some. 


Without looking it up or reading beyond the sentence, how many games would you guess that Quiroz played in the Red Sox system? The utility infielder signed out of Mexico, who shone brighty at a time when few others in the system did, played in only 32 games between Double-A Portland and the GCL Sox while on a rehab assignment. Traded after an impressive AFL showing to San Diego for reliever Colten Brewer, Quiroz showed he could be healthy and consistently productive, blasting 19 homers on his way to a .271/.384/.539 line with Triple-A El Paso. Desipte the strong campaign, the call never came for the then-27-year-old and he found himself back in the American League East. Quiroz, a Tampa Bay Rays-type if ever there was one, joined that organization in March as the player to be named later in the five-player deal that sent Tommy Pham out west. 


In 2018, it seemed like everything went right for the Red Sox at the major league level and everything went wrong in the minors. Perhaps nothing typified that more than the way Espinal, one of the lone bright spots of the first half that year while playing for Salem, was flipped to Toronto for the eventual World Series MVP. How consistent is Espinal? He hit .287/.347/.393 between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo in 2019; his career minor league line is .285/.345/.390. Espinal was added to the Jay’s 40-man roster in the offseason and was a standout in the abbreviated spring training, going 10 for 24 with three homers. 


Just in case you’re one of those folks out there pretending that he’s not all that good, a gentle reminder to stop it. Moncada hit .315/.367/.548 last year, finishing with a .412/.455/.647 September flourish. He turns 25 in late May.


Photo Credit: Mauricio Dubon, Santiago Espinal by Kelly O'Connor