Lineup issues with the Red Sox using Dalbec and Chavis together.
This will be my latest therapeutic venting on the Boston Red Sox and all things that pertain to them in this most inglorious of seasons. This will be a slight dip back into another baseball era when hitting was viewed as not just swinging from the heels.
Bobby Dalbec has arrived with a bang and a whimper. The bang was a right-field home run and the whimper was four consecutive multiple strikeout games. Neither should be a surprise based on Dalbec’s baseball history. Three things stand out in that history: Home runs, strikeouts, and low batting average.
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Michael Chavis arrived last season with prodigious power and eventually, the holes in his hitting approach by both the gifted and not so gifted hurlers were discovered.
Occasionally a pitcher makes a mistake on location or pitch selection and Chavis or Dalbec will send the mistake where it rightfully belongs.
Chavis and Dalbec are still young in baseball age and experience at the MLB level – a work in progress or will it be a lack of progress? Historically, even Dave Kingman would make contact enough to remain in MLB to hit 442 home runs and finish with a .236 career average. In Kingman’s last season he swatted 35 and was never hired again.
In the recent trading meat market, Joey Gallo was mentioned and Gallo – like Chavis and Dalbec – is a right-handed power hitter. Gallo’s carried a career .209 average, two seasons of 40+ home runs, and can play the outfield and first base with limited embarrassment. Chavis and Dalbec are similar in that they can play a position with enough positives not to be consigned to designated hitter. There is a place for low contact and a high volume of home runs.
Baseball has seen changes and one of the most notable is the acceptance of high strikeout numbers as hitters flay away with limited contact. J.D. Martinez is a nice exception of power and average combined – real old school going back to the days of 40+ home runs and .300 hitting. Rafael Devers has that potential even with his whiff total.
Most of the power boys are in the mold of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton – neither has hit close to .300, but both have seasons of 50+ home runs. That is sustainable with a balanced lineup, but I doubt Chavis and Dalbec are a match for Judge and Stanton. There is that fine line where limited contact should mean limited lineup exposure.
In the baseball of today, apparently having multiple strikeout-prone performers in the lineup is not viewed as a major liability. Part of it is the simple acceptance by management of collateral damage of whiffs balanced by the occasional blast. Where it will eventually disintegrate with having Chavis and Dalbec together on Ron Roenicke’s lineup card is the word “occasional” that may just slip into rare occurrence.
Maybe I just long for a return of the Charlie Lau approach? Maybe I should just get by this wall of obstinance with whiffs and embrace this acceptance of high volume strikeouts that have proliferated in MLB the last few years? But, alas, that is a line I simply cannot cross. I can understand it but not accept it. Too many strikeouts are too many lost opportunities. Maybe just a Boomer thing? Or get off my lawn thing?
Pitchers are clever devils and will exploit the Chavis’ and Dalbec’s of baseball. I picture it in the context of a crucial situation with runners on the corners and one out. Game on the line. Even simple contact of getting that run home becomes a Hodge Conjecture of baseball. I will stay entrenched in the past and scratch my noggin’ wondering what has happened to the complete power hitter?
A Red Sox lineup that has Chavis and Dalbec together has a structural weakness from the start. The evaluation jury is still debating Chavis and Dalbec, but based on their history in the minors and majors one would simply say what you see is what you get. And as far as value in trades that are undoubtedly in decline. At least I feel better.