Takeaways from the first week of Red Sox Spring training
Red Sox 1B Bobby Dalbec looks primed for a monster season
One of the most underrated storylines for the 2021 Red Sox was the in-season rebound of Bobby Dalbec. After slashing just .185/.237/.358 through June 8 and appearing on the cusp of a demotion, Dalbec suddenly became one of the best first basemen in baseball, posting a .275/.336/.580 the rest of the way. His month of August particularly showed his massive potential, as he won AL Rookie of the Month by slashing .339/.431/774 with seven home runs and 21 RBIs.
Despite his remarkable turnaround, there are still gains to be made in Dalbec’s game. His full-season on-base percentage was below .300, and he led the team in strikeouts despite having just the seventh-most plate appearances. There is also plenty of room to grow against right handers (.212/.278.458). Dalbec’s monster power will always find him a place on an MLB roster, but making the aforementioned improvements could make him an All-Star caliber player.
If the first week of spring is any indication, Dalbec is starting to take steps towards being that player. He has shown a refined two-strike approach, cutting down on his big leg kick that he uses early in counts. The result has been a red-hot start this spring, totaling three extra-base hits in his first twelve at-bats. Two of those hits came against right-handed pitching, including a two-run shot off Twins righty Cole Sands on a fastball up in the zone, a pitch he struggled mightily with last year. It is obviously way too early to be making grand proclamations, but there is a lot to like about Dalbec’s early performance.