The continued rise of Red Sox first baseman Bobby Dalbec
Hopes were high for Bobby Dalbec in 2021 after a strong finish in 2020. In 23 games, Dalbec launched eight home runs and slugged .600, winning the starting first base job the following season. Yet for two months, Dalbec looked like a shell of the player he was in 2020, batting .185 with just five home runs through June 8th. Forget being the breakout star of the Red Sox lineup. Dalbec appeared to be in danger of being demoted to the minors.
Suddenly, like a switch, Dalbec became not just a serviceable major league player, but one of the best first basemen in all of baseball. From June 10th on, Dalbec slashed .275/.336/.580 with 19 home runs and 54 RBIs. The addition of Kyle Schwarber pushed him to the bench during the Red Sox postseason run, but Dalbec proved in the second half just how dangerous he could be.
Even if the Red Sox don’t re-sign Schwarber, there will still be a ton of pressure on Dalbec this season. Top prospect Triston Casas has impressed at every level, and he enters 2022 on the doorstep of the major leagues. Still, Dalbec will get every chance to be the Red Sox starting first baseman this season, and with his improving plate discipline and raw power unmatched by anyone on the team, he will be a lot of fun to watch.