With MLB announcing the 2019 Rookie of the Year winners tonight, let’s look ahead and see if the Red Sox could have next year’s winner.
A popular candidate for the league’s top rookie in 2020 will be Red Sox infield prospect Bobby Dalbec. He showed a lot of power in 2019 with a .221 isolated power to go along with a .816 OPS.
Dalbec definitely has the ceiling to be a major-league star, but his game seems to revolve around an all or nothing play-style. A player with a similar mentality and game plan is Michael Chavis, another Red Sox infielder.
Chavis also put his power on display in 2019, going into May he had the 5 longest Red Sox home runs. However, the Ice Horse struggled to produce consistent offense, posting a 96 OPS+ to pair with 127 strikeouts in 95 games.
The key for Dalbec will be if he can cut down his strikeouts (139 in 2019) while increasing his batting average. He has a near-elite walk ratio, nearly 1 every other game. If he can increase his average, with his power, Dalbec has the chance to make his stat line something to remember.
Making consistent contact would allow for the right-hander to better his on-base percentage along with his extra-base hits. Improving all of those stats would allow for an increase in OPS. He will likely be tasked with hitting fifth or sixth, but if he lives up to the hype and proves that he’s a quality major-league bat, then he could be pushed up to the top of the order.
On the defensive side of the ball, Dalbec has primarily been a third baseman. However, with the emergence of Rafael Devers as one of the best players in baseball, he had to prove his defensive versatility and move to first base. Now, Dalbec has a clear path to the majors, no longer blocked by Devers.
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Dalbec ended up playing 24 games at first base in 2019 and made 2 errors. If he played 162 games, he’d end up making about 13 errors. There can definitely be improvement and growth from Dalbec, but it is a very encouraging first step for a player that never fielded the position before. As long as he ends up producing at the plate to his full capabilities and plays an average to decent first base, he should be in the race for Rookie of the Year come next November.
Over the past few years the Red Sox have excelled at developing young third baseman into quality everyday players. Devers, Chavis, and now Dalbec are sure to contribute to the 2020 Red Sox. The trend is sure to continue with Triston Casas in the minor-leagues.
Dalbec has an insane amount of potential and if he can put it all together, he has a chance to bring the Rookie of the Year to the Red Sox in 2020.