Red Sox: Four good things that happened for Boston during 2020

Alex Verdugo of the Boston Red Sox reacts to hitting a solo home run. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Alex Verdugo of the Boston Red Sox reacts to hitting a solo home run. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /
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red sox tanner houck
MIAMI, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 15: Tanner Houck #89 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Miami Marlins during his major league debut at Marlins Park on September 15, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Red Sox prospects rise to the occasion

As much as I got excited for Alex Verdugo I think the debuts of Tanner Houck and Bobby Dalbec may have topped it. If you’ve followed BSI over the last couple of years then you know that Houck and Dalbec are two of Boston’s top prospects and we’ve anxiously awaited their arrivals. Our own Hunter Knoll has covered both extensively as they’ve climbed the developmental ranks and his analysis paid off in 2020.

Both were late-season additions to the Red Sox lineup once it was clear that all hope was lost and they could get some serious Major League playing time without killing their service years. Dalbec’s promotion came on the heels of Boston trading soon to be free-agent veteran Mitch Moreland to the Padres at the deadline in August. It didn’t take long for Bobby D to take to the big leagues and began smashing bombs right away.

He did hit the usual rookie cold spell but was able to break it rather quickly and get back to his offensive ways. At one point, Dalbec was flirting with tying Ken Griffey Jr.’s record for consecutive games with a home run, sadly he fell just short.

The first baseman finished with a .263/.359/.600/.959 slash adding 8 homers and 16 RBI. As he only played a month, he is still considered a rookie for 2021 and can make a run at the Rookie of the Year.

Much like Dalbec, due to Houck’s short time in the bigs this year, he will still be considered a rookie for 2021 and has a fast-track to the starting rotation. With little competition and big question marks hovering above Boston’s aces, Houck should find himself in the rotation on Opening Day.

I will admit that despite him not getting as much love as some other pitching prospects in the pipeline, I was most anxious to see what he could do, and he didn’t disappoint.

The righty finished with an impressive 3-0 record with a lights-out 0.53 ERA through 17.0 innings pitched. It may be a small sample size and we very well may be getting ahead of ourselves, but I think Houck can do some serious damage in 2021.

His BB/9 was a bit higher than I’d like to see at 4.8 but it was more than balanced out by his K/9 which was a stellar 11.1. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he dedicated the entire offseason toward not just earning but keeping a starting job.