No. 16: Red Sox starting pitching prospect Hunter Dobbins
Hunter Dobbins came into 2023 as sort of an unknown. Drafted in 2021, he only had 69 innings of work entering this season due to injuries.
The injuries were part of the reason the Boston Red Sox were able to draft Dobbins in the eighth round of the 2021 draft, though.
Dobbins may have come into 2023 as an unknown, but fans are excited about him now.
The right-handed pitcher posted a 3.67 ERA, .240 BAA, and 1.19 WHIP between High-A and Double-A. He struck out 122 batters compared to only 31 walks in 112 2/3 innings.
Dobbins failed to go at least five innings just three times in 20 appearances this season. One was his first outing of the year. Another was his last (where he was dealing, but Portland wanted to work a few pitchers).
He went six-plus innings nine times, four of which were seven-inning outings.
Dobbins has the makings of a workhorse. He doesn't walk many batters, and home runs don't kill him. The ability to consistently give his team at least five innings of work was incredible in 2023. It shows the potential of a legitimate rotation arm.
Dobby has a fastball that works in the mid-90s and can sneak into the high 90s. He gets a lot of cut on it and seems to have great control of the pitch.
Then there's a curveball with a good dropping break. It tends to work in the high 70s. He's pretty consistent with the pitch and isn't afraid to use it early in counts. Dobbins says he's working on throwing it harder for more deception.
Next is a splitter in the low-80s with a good drop. Dobbins told me this was his favorite pitch. It has a low spin rate similar to a knuckleball and produces a lot of swings-and-misses for him.
Finally, Dobbins has a sweeper. The pitch works in the mid-to-high-80s with some good sharp breaks to it. He says he developed it in the last couple of games this year, and I'm assuming this is the pitch. Adding this to the arsenal gives Dobbins a lethal pitch mix.
Hunter Dobbins has catapulted himself into the "legitimate starting pitching prospect" territory. 2024 could see him take another leap as he's creeping up on the Major Leagues.