Boston Red Sox: Bobby Dalbec is finally heating up in August
Bobby Dalbec has been improving his performance for the Red Sox
While all the attention (and rightfully so) has been on Chris Sale’s dominant return to the Boston Red Sox last Saturday, first baseman Bobby Dalbec has quietly become one of the team’s current hottest hitters.
Dalbec will enter tomorrow’s series opener against the New York Yankees fresh off an electric performance against the Baltimore Orioles. He recorded three home runs, six RBIs, and two doubles in 12 plate appearances, helping the Red Sox easily sweep the O’s.
Dalbec’s two home run game last Saturday showed the sheer power he can bring when he makes proper contact with the ball. According to MLB Statcast, his first home run of the night, a two-run 445-foot blast that nearly cleared the green monster, had an exit velocity of 109.7 miles per hour. This season, Dalbec sits in the 96th percentile in terms of maximum exit velocity, and his average exit velocity of 91.3 miles per hour places him in the top 20% of all batters.
Surprisingly, his three home runs against the Orioles all came off the bat of right-handed pitchers. Dalbec has struggled this season against right-handers, batting .194/.249/.389 with 71 strikeouts in 193 plate appearances.
The 26-year-old first baseman also had a great performance in Boston’s 20-8 win against the Tampa Bay Rays last Wednesday, during which he drove in five runs and hit his fourth triple of the season.
Is it safe to say that Dalbec has finally found his rhythm? Perhaps. Entering August, Dalbec had a batting average of .215 and recorded only one home run out of his 64 plate appearances in July. He also had 111 strikeouts, placing him in the top 1% of all major league batters for highest strikeout percentage.
However, he has turned it around as of late. This month, Dalbec’s batting .355/.444/.774 with an OPS of 1.219 in 36 plate appearances. After his encouraging performance against the Orioles, manager Alex Cora told the media that he’s hopeful that Dalbec can keep his bat alive for the remainder of the regular season, according to MassLive’s Chris Cotillo.
"“Hopefully, this is the beginning of something great,” said Cora following last Friday’s 8-1 win over the Orioles. “We believed in him in spring training. We’ve been very patient, obviously, with the ups and downs. That was a great game today.”"
Dalbec’s recent success poses an interesting scenario for Cora and the future of the starting lineup. Prior to the trade deadline, rumors suggested that the Red Sox would pursue a first baseman to replace the struggling Dalbec. When the team acquired Kyle Schwarber right before the deadline, they planned for him to play first base along with players such as Franchy Cordero and Christian Arroyo.
However, given Dalbec’s performance as of late, Schwarber may alternate with J.D. Martinez in left field and the DH position. Now, recently signed infielder Travis Shaw will likely share time at first base with Dalbec.
Regardless of where Dalbec sits on the Red Sox roster, he remains focused on helping the team close out the regular season winning games.
"“They put the lineup out there that they think is going to win ball games. If I’m in it, awesome. If I’m not, it’s all good. We’re trying to win games. It’s not about me,” said Dalbec."
If Dalbec can keep his power bat alive, he has the chance to redeem himself as the team’s next slugging first baseman and help the Red Sox push for a spot in the playoffs.