Meet the New Faces: Bobby Dalbec
The Red Sox rounded out their 40-man roster on Tuesday by adding 5 players. Those 5 players, along with the other players on the 40-man roster will be protected from being taken in the Rule 5 draft. It is time to meet the new additions to the roster. Some could be ready to contribute in 2020 to the big club. The first one to look at is Bobby Dalbec.
Dalbec was taken in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB draft. Since that time, he has shown some crazy power. Across his four seasons in the minor leagues, he has hit 79 home runs. It has taken him just 383 games to hit that mark. He has also produced an impressive .261/.362/.505 slash line in those games.
Bobby Dalbec started out his career as a third baseman. Before turning professional, Dalbec had manned third base, first base and was even used as a reliever. The Red Sox have settled on the 24 year old right handed slugger contributing as a first baseman for his career. He was recognized in 2018 as their top defensive minor leaguer and seems to have really found a home over there.
Drawbacks and Outlook for Dalbec
Dalbec is not without his drawbacks, however. While his power is the stuff of legends, he has a fairly high strikeout rate. His lowest percentage was in Low A ball at 23.1%. This past season, at Double A he struck out 25.1% of the time and when he moved to Triple A it went down a bit to 23.6%. For Red Sox Major League comparisons, it would be in between what Andrew Benintendi does for strikeouts and what Jackie Bradley Jr. does as well. Other Major Leaguers with that kind of strikeout rate are Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Josh Donaldson.
The issue becomes if it balloons to where he was in 2017 and 2018. His strikeout rate during that time was over 30%. It changes the conversation of who he would be compared to if that’s the case. If he continued that trend, he would strikeout at a rate like Rougned Odor and Franmil Reyes.
The flip side to that is how often he can draw a walk. Dalbec was able to draw walks at fairly decent clips in the minors. In Double A this past season he was walking 15.5% of the time. On the Red Sox, it would be close to what Mookie Betts does, as he sits at a 13.7%. The closest comparisons between how often he walks and how often he strikes out would be Josh Donaldson, Max Muncy and Bryce Harper. If his walk rate holds, and he can keep the strikeouts down, he will find success in the MLB.
The Fit for Bobby Dalbec
The Red Sox, notably, have a hole at first base. Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce are free agents and with an eye toward payroll cutting, will likely not be back. Michael Chavis spent a fair amount of time over at first base, but that might not be the long term fit for him. Other than Michael Chavis, there is not anyone currently on the team that would handle first base duties. If the Red Sox make no further additions, Dalbec may very well find himself on the Major a League team to begin the season.