Red Sox infielder Bobby Dalbec Wins AL Rookie of the Year
In a season devoid of highlights for the Red Sox, Bobby Dalbec burst onto the scene in 2020 as a late season call-up. He hit a home run in his debut game in August, and would go on to homer in five straight games in September. He appeared in a total of 23 games and ended the season with .263/.359/.600 slash line.
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Dalbec picked right up where he left off this spring. He’s leading the team (min. 2 AB) in slugging percentage and has hit 7 home runs in 18 spring training games. Dalbec is launching the ball out of the park at a rate of one home run for every 7.2 plate appearances. For comparison, in Barry Bonds’ record setting 73 home run season in 2001, he had an average of every 9.1 plate appearances between every round-tripper.
According to DraftKings, Dalbec (+1500) has the seventh best odds to take home the AL Rookie Crown. He ranks behind two pairs of division rivals Randy Arozarena (+350) and Wander Franco (+1000) from the Rays and Ryan Mountcastle (+1200) and Adley Rutschman (+1200) on the Orioles. Also ahead of Dalbec are Jarred Kelenic (+650) and Andrew Vaughn (+1250), the Mariners’ and White Sox’ top prospects, respectively.
Dalbec will have some stiff competition for the hardware from the highly touted prospects listed above, but he has the tools to be top dog among top dogs. Like many power hitters, Dalbec swings big and he misses big, too. He recorded the highest Whiff % or, swinging strikes per swing in the majors least season (min. 50 PA), but also ranked 2nd in Barrel %, which is essentially hitting the baseball with the ideal combination of exit velocity and launch angle, or in layman’s terms, hitting the ball real good.
His key to taking home the award will be the maintain the power he displayed at the big league level last season, while improving his discipline and contact rate at the plate.