Red Sox first baseman Bobby Dalbec
Bobby Dalbec showed us what the scouting reports predicted we would get. He’s going to strike out a ton but the whiffs will be offset by his incredible raw power.
The rookie only appeared in 23 games but Dalbec still managed to finish third on the team with eight home runs in 80 at-bats. His eight homers tied him with Rafael Devers (2017) for the second-most home runs in franchise history through their first 22 career games. George Scott had 10 in his first 22 big league games in 1966.
Dalbec had a historic five-game home run streak that set a Red Sox rookie record. Dalbec is the first player in the modern era (since 1900) with a five-game home run streak within his first 10 career games. He’s also the first Red Sox hitter with six home runs in his first 10 career games.
His all-or-nothing swing results in plenty of strikeouts to accompany those homers. Dalbec’s staggering 42.4 percent strikeout rate was the second-worst in the majors among hitters with 90+ plate appearances.
Despite all the strikeouts, Dalbec wasn’t quite the liability in the batting average department that we expected, posting a decent .263 average as a rookie. A .394 BABIP helped Dalbec sustain a respectable average. While a high BABIP can often indicate a bit of luck was on the hitter’s side, Dalbec hits the ball so hard that anything he puts in play has a decent chance of falling in for a hit. He simply needs to make more contact.
Dalbec should enter 2021 as the primary first baseman for the Red Sox. With consistent playing time, Dalbec could make a legitimate run at 40+ home runs. His limited playing time this season means he’ll retain rookie status heading into next year, making him a viable Rookie of the Year candidate.