Boston Red Sox infield stat projections for the 2022 season
Red Sox First Baseman: Bobby Dalbec
You would be forgiven if you gave up on Bobby Dalbec last season. Through June 8 of last year, Dalbec was slashing a paltry .185/.237/.358 with just six home runs to his name. His plate discipline was particularly atrocious, as he walked just ten times against 65 strikeouts. A player who appeared to establish himself as a future star in 2020 was now in danger of being sent down.
Then, like a switch, Dalbec not only kept his spot as an everyday first baseman but became one of the best at the position in baseball. From June 10, Dalbec improved his slash line to .275/.336/.580 with 19 home runs and 54 RBIs. His approach at the plate didn’t improve much, but he did increase his walk rate from 5.7% to 6.8% and cut his strikeout rate by 5%.
Even if Dalbec never becomes a patient contact hitter, his bat will still be more than good enough for first base. Despite an up-and-down season, there were very few hitters in the league who hit the ball as hard as he did last year. The big first baseman ranked in the top ten percentile in exit velocity, max exit velocity, and barrel percentage. He was especially excellent against left-handed pitching, slashing .281/.326/.576 against them last season.
Dalbec also is far from a one-dimensional slugger. For one, he moves surprisingly well for such a big guy. His sprint speed was in the top 25% of all runners and first among full-time first basemen. In addition, unlike many whiff-prone hitters, Dalbec had success against all kinds of pitches. He slugged at least .450 on every pitch type last year, proving that there’s no easy way to get him out.
Dalbec may never be a perfect hitter, but the improvements he made last year established him as worthy of an everyday spot. Expect Dalbec to take another step forward this year.
Stat Prediction: .256/.323/.496, 33 HR, 86 RBI, 1.2 WAR