Has Bobby Dalbec Earned Another Year As A Starter?

Red Sox fans first saw Bobby Dalbec in the big leagues after Mitch Moreland was traded away at the trade deadline in the shortened 2020 MLB season. Dalbec made his major league debut on August 30th of 2020, and in the final month of the season, he put up impressive numbers for a rookie. 

In 23 games in 2020, Dalbec posted a .263 batting average, a .359 on-base percentage, and 48 total bases. Dalbec also hit eight home runs, and knocked in 16 RBIs in his 92 plate appearances in 2020. 

Concerns in 2020

What was worrisome for Dalbec were the same things we are seeing this year. Too many strikeouts, and faulty defense. In his 23 games in 2020, Dalbec had a 42.4% strikeout rate, meaning he struck out 42.4% of his at bats. Much like this year, Dalbec particularly struggled with breaking balls (55.7% whiff rate), and off-speed pitches (54.5% whiff rate). Dalbec also chased 33.5% of pitches out of the zone, which contributed to his high strikeout rate. 

Dalbec also committed three errors at first base in just 20 games started.  

High Expectations in 2021

Coming off the impressive numbers at the end of 2020, and an incredible spring training campaign, Red Sox fans had high expectations for Dalbec in 2021. Dalbec earned the start at first base in the 2021 season opener, thus beginning the roller coaster ride it has been with Dalbec this season.

Slow Start

Unfortunately for Dalbec, he got off to a very slow start to the 2021 season, and really didn’t find himself until after the All Star break. Dalbec hovered around the Mendoza Line for most of the first four months of the season. 

MonthAVGOBPSLGOPSHRSO
April.214.276.343.619129
May.200.243.429.672425
June.237.280.500.780532
July.210.234.30.541125
Pre- All Star .219.264.409.6731095

Dalbec’s struggles had Red Sox fans (Including myself) begging Chaim Bloom to get a first baseman at the trade deadline. Understandably so, the 26-year-old was not putting up good power numbers, and was leading the team in strikeouts. But Dalbec seems to have heard the noise surrounding the first base position because he has elevated his game. 

Post All Star Break

Since the All-Star break, Dalbec has been red hot. He has posted a .297 batting average, .376 OBP, and has hit 10 homeruns, which matches what he had pre All Star break. Since the trade deadline, Dalbec is hitting .350 with 28 RBIs. 

Though Dalbec has significantly improved his game, we are still seeing the same problems. Trouble in the field, and an alarmingly high strikeout rate. Dalbec has 40 strikeouts since the All Star break which puts him in the bottom 2% in strikeout rate in the league this season, with an unnerving 34.5% strikeout rate. 

In terms of Dalbec’s defense, he was a third baseman turned first baseman so there is reason to be patient with his defensive struggles. 

Has Bobby Earned Another Year?

I think he has. The Red Sox are only paying Dalbec $575,000 and he has started over 110 games for the team this season. Dalbec is also under team control until 2023, and then has three years of abirtation until 2027 when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. 

Dalbec has shown us over the past month that he is capable of being a solid bat in the lineup. With star prospect Triston Casas ready to take over the reins at first base within the next few seasons, it wouldn’t make sense to break the bank for a first baseman. 

When Casas does take over at first base, which is only a matter of time, that wouldn’t necessarily mean Dalbec wouldn’t have a spot in the lineup. With J.D. Martinez set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2023 at the age of 35, the Sox could potentially move on from Martinez and move Rafael Devers to the designated hitter spot. 

Devers’ defense has been atrocious this season and for much of his career. This season alone Devers has 19 errors. Eventually the Red Sox are going to have to take him out of the field if he can’t figure out his defensive issues. Which could leave the door open for Dalbec, who really plays third base.

Bobby Dalbec Heating Up

Bobby Dalbec may have finally figured out how to hit the ball on a consistent basis, which should scare the rest of the American League. At his best, Dalbec can be a very dangerous hitter. If he stays hot, this Red Sox lineup will have very few holes in it. With Bobby Dalbec heating up, other teams would be wise to take notice.

Bobby Dalbec

Hunter Renfroe has provided steady production in the bottom of the lineup that Boston needed all season, but he simply does not have the same ceiling that Dalbec does.

In Dalbec’s last nine games, he is hitting .382 with and OPS of 1.227. It may not be a huge sample size, but it is his best stretch of the season. He has six extra-base hits in that span, three being home runs and two coming in the form of triples. He has gotten his average above .200 and raised his OPS over 100 points

So what’s his secret for this hot-streak?

According to Dalbec, he started choking up on the bat.

“Easy way to create more time for myself and that’s what I needed to do,” the rookie explained in a mlb.com article. “So if I am a little bit tardy I have that to help me out a little bit. Less length on the bat, less bat to get around into the zone.”

The small change has allowed Dalbec to make contact more often and has allowed him to drive the ball to the opposite field. His latest home run against the Royals he drove 381-feet to right field.

Bobby Dalbec Heating Up

People can forget sometimes that Bobby Dalbec is still only a rookie that appeared in just 23 games last season. Part of the reason why is he came out hot by hitting eight home runs last season to go along with an OPS of .959. He looked like he had been in the league for years.

The high strikeout rates will always be there for Dalbec, but even if he can cut down the K’s a little his production will go up significantly and the Red Sox will leave fewer guys on base.

Maybe Dalbec’s early season struggles were just another bump in the road every rookie goes through early in the season. Once pitchers got the scouting report on him, they knew how to attack him. Now he finally made the adjustment that hopefully he carries for the rest of the season.

The Weekly Wrap Up And Truck Day

Another week has gone by in Red Sox Nation, and the pot is slowly turning. Also, the day Red Sox Nation looks forward to is almost here. Truck Day, Fenway Park’s yearly event kicks off tomorrow, as they get ready for Spring Training. The Red Sox brought back Mitch Moreland for his fourth season in Boston this past week, while Brock Holt still is a free agent. The Red Sox are also still looking for a new manager following the Alex Cora resignation.

The rumors of Mookie Betts being traded intensified this past week. Teams like the Padrestruck day and Dodgers were mentioned on more than one occasion, but so far, Mookie is still in Boston. It was reported that the Red Sox offered him a ten year contract, whereas Betts wants a twelve year one. With Betts hitting free agency after this season, only time can tell what will happen. But first, Truck Day.

Truck Day 2020 Is One Day Away

Like every year since 2003, the Red Sox will be celebrating Truck Day. The day in which the truck is loaded up with equipment to head to Fort Myers for Spring Training. The Red Sox stated on Friday that the Truck Day festivities will begin around 7am, and end around 12pm. While many may not understand Truck Day, for Red Sox fans, it’s the unofficial start to the baseball season.

Like in years past, Wally and Tessie will be around to take pictures with fans, and be accompanied by the Fenway Ambassadors. Fans also will most likely be able to sign the truck, which will provide great reading material to those who will drive alongside it. The truck, which will contain 20,400 baseballs, 1,100 bats, 20 cases of gum, and other equipment, will be making a stop at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket on Monday afternoon after departing Fenway.

Red Sox Bring Back Moreland

A Red Sox reunion occurred this past week. First baseman Mitch Moreland will be back with the Red Sox for his fourth season. Moreland agreed to a one year deal worth $3 million, and it comes with a club option for 2021. The veteran stated in an interview that Boston feels like home. One thing that the Red Sox look forward to is seeing him become a mentor to Michael Chavis and Bobby Dalbec.

The 34 year old will be entering his 11th MLB Season in 2020. His first seven were with the Texas Rangers before he signed with the Red Sox prior to the 2017 season. This past season, he was only limited to 91 games, in which he batted .252 with 19 home runs and 58 RBI’s.

Where Will Mookie Land?

Or will he stay? That’s been the ongoing conversation that will never end. The Red Sox and Betts agreed to a one year $27 million deal to avoid arbitration a few weeks ago. However, the notion that he will test free agency after the 2021 season. Many speculate that he is going to want a contract similar to Mike Trout and Nolan Arenado, who both signed huge contract extensions last offseason to stay with the Angels and Rockies respectively.

It was reported that the Red Sox offered Betts a 10 year $300 million contract after last season. However, Betts stated that he was looking for a 12 year $420 million dollar contract. Since then, neither side has spoken about contract extensions. This week, it was also reported that the San Diego Padres were looking to make a deal for Betts, as were the Los Angeles Dodgers. Those rumors, including one that involves all three teams, are just rumors at the moment. Going into the 2020 season, Mookie Betts is still Boston’s right fielder.

Mets Looking into a Trade With the Red Sox?

It appears so. Multiple reports are stating that with the Red Sox are looking at Mets closer Edwin Diaz. Over the past few days, some officials from the New York Mets have been spotted in Boston. The question is, who will the Red Sox move to get Diaz? Or, are the Mets looking to trade to Boston at all?

With the trade deadline only two days away, Red Sox fans are on the edge of their seat toMets looking see what Dave Dombrowski will do. After a weekend series that saw the Red Sox take three games from the Yankees, many are excited about the remainder of the season. First, we need to get past the trade deadline on Wednesday. Hopefully the Mets will help the Red Sox get to October.

Mets Looking to Part Ways With Edwin Diaz?

The 25 year-old right hander is in his first season with the New York Mets. After spending the first three seasons of his career as a Seattle Mariner, he was traded to the Mets that also saw Robinson Cano join the team.

Right now, Diaz is under team control for at least three more seasons, which would be perfect for Boston. He has a career 3.04 ERA in 232 games. In 148 save opportunities, Diaz was able to convert 132 of them. This season, he has 23 saves out of 27 save opportunities.

The Mets are currently 50-55, and 11.5 games out of first place in the National League East. The Red Sox are 59-48, and 9 games out of first place. Unlike the Mets, the Red Sox have a shot of grabbing one of the Wild Card spots if they continue to do well the rest of the season. It’s only logical that the are Mets looking to move Diaz, who would be able to fill in the closer role for Boston.

Who Would The Red Sox Move?

That’s a scary question. There have been a few names that have been floating around when it comes to the trade deadline.

One of those names is Bobby Dalbec. The 24 year old has been doing well for the Portland Sea Dogs this season, batting .230 in 343 plate appearances. He has 20 home runs and 52 RBI’s on the season. Dalbec was selected by Boston in the fourth round of the 2016 draft as a third baseman. He was named Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year for a minor leaguer in 2018 by the Red Sox.

Another name is Tristan Casas, last season’s first round pick. Right now, Casas is a member of the Red Sox Class A team, the Greenville Drive. In 93 games, the corner infielder is batting .252 with 68 RBI’s. He also has 17 home runs on the season.

As for the big league names, one that has been floating around is Michael Chavis. The Ice House, who will be turning 24 in a few weeks, made his MLB Debut back on April 20th. Since then, Chavis has played in 83 games at three infield positions – first, second and third base. In 311 at-bats, he is batting .260 with 16 home runs and 55 RBI’s. Chavis also has 2 stolen bases on the season.

What Do These Rumors Mean?

Yes, it will be sad to see any one of those three guys go, especially Michael Chavis. However, that might not be the case. There are other players on both the Red Sox and the Mets system that can be traded. It’s a matter of who is traded, and if there is a third team involved. These next 48 hours are crucial for Boston, as they get set to host the Tampa Bay Rays in Boston.

One Week From The Highly Anticipated Trade Deadline

We are officially one week away from the highly anticipated trade deadline. Will the Red Sox be buyers, or sellers? Who will stay, and who will go to another team? Those answers will hopefully come in the next week.

Unlike in years past, Major League Baseball has decided to have one and only one tradeHighly Anticipated Trade Deadline deadline. There’s no more waiver trades like there were in the past. What happens between now and July 31st for the Red Sox is very crucial, and determines their fate in the American League.

Right now, they took 2 out of 3 from the Rays in Tampa Bay, allowing them to be one game back of the Rays. However, do they have what it takes to continue the uphill battle? Will they add a new member to the bullpen, or to the line up? Only time will tell, and the clock is ticking away.

From the Rotation to the Bullpen

On July 13th, Dave Dombrowski’s journey to help the Red Sox’s pitching problems began. Dombrowski proceeded to trade for Baltimore Orioles starter, Andrew Cashner for cash, and two minor leaguers. This seemed like a good trade at the time, as Cashner has been a consistent starting pitcher for the Orioles, with a record of 9-3. Since then, Cashner hasn’t been living up to the hype so to speak. In two starts for Boston, Cashner is 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA. He has pitched 11 innings, allowing 14 hits and 10 runs. Of those, 4 have been home runs.

With one piece to the puzzle solved so to speak, it’s hard not to look at the bullpen and their struggles this season. Again, with the highly anticipated trade deadline looming in the distance, the Red Sox have been linked to some names that could hopefully save them.

One player in particular is Kirby Yates. The current San Diego Padre has also pitched for the Yankees, Rays and LA Angels. Yates was named to his first All Star game this July, and has been an effective closer for the Padres. The 32 year old righty has a 1.05 ERA in 41 games this season.

Another player that has been linked to Boston is a member of the San Francisco Giants. No, it’s not Madison Bumgarner, it’s Will Smith. Again, not the actor, the relief pitcher. In 44 games for the Giants, he has a record of 3-0, with a 2.44 ERA. Smith has also pitched for the Kansas City Royals, and Milwaukee Brewers in his career. The 30 year old lefty would be a great fit for the Boston bullpen. Smith was also named to his first All Star game this season, and won the Willie Mac Award in 2018.

The Highly Anticipated Trade Deadline Awaits Boston

The main focus for Boston this upcoming deadline is pitching, mainly the bullpen. With the addition of Andrew Cashner, and Nathan Eovaldi coming off of the injured list, the Red Sox look prepared for the next few months of the season. However, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. For instance, can the lineup stay hot enough to keep the ball rolling to October? Can the rotation kick it up a notch to win games and keep the bullpen well rested? There are so many questions and such little time.

Unfortunately for Boston, one name that they were linked to, New York Mets starting pitcher, Zack Wheeler, is on the injured list until at least Friday. the 29 year old right hander is 6-6 on the season in 19 starts. Granted, his ERA is 4.69, but Wheeler is still a promising up and comer since making his debut in 2013.

Like most trades, many prospects can be moved. For Boston in this highly anticipated trade deadline, it’ll be interesting to see who gets traded from the farm, or from the big league club itself. I doubt Dombrowski would trade away the future, especially Tristan Casas or Bobby Dalbec. If the Red Sox can find some form of consistency, then next Wednesday’s deadline will be something to look forward to.