Can Boston Red Sox slugger Bobby Dalbec find a role in 2023?
Remember Bobby Dalbec? With all the excitement surrounding Triston Casas, Boston Red Sox fans have quickly forgotten that just a couple seasons ago Dalbec was that big bat sparking excitement for the future.
After a strong debut during the shortened 2020 MLB season, Dalbec looked as though he was going to live up to expectations. He did hit 25 homers with 78 RBI in his first full season as a rookie but struggles at the plate and in the field were obvious.
Although hitting .240 with consistent power is something most teams would take, Dalbec really took a step back in 2022 with his batting average dipped down to .215. he also saw less at bats and hit just 12 homers with 39 RBI. Now, was that a result of the entire team struggling through the season or was the struggles at the plate more of a reflection of the type of player Dalbec will be?
With a plan in place for Casas to be the everyday first baseman along with the arrival of Justin Turner, the Red Sox may be ready to move on from Dalbec if he doesn’t have a good showing in Spring Training. Involved in trade rumors throughout the offseason, it would be unfortunate if the former top prospect wasn’t able to at least mirror his 2021 season with more consistency at the plate.
If Bobby Dalbec finds consistency at the plate, Red Sox have a good problem
If there was ever a season the Red Sox needed a young bat like Dalbec to thrive, it would be in 2023. So, what if that did happen?
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Well, the Boston Red Sox would have a nice dilemma on their hand. Obviously, third base will be locked up by Rafael Devers but if both Casas and Dalbec are tearing the cover off the ball, Red Sox manager Alex Cora would need to find ways to get them both in the lineup on a consistent basis while also finding at bats for Justin Turner.
That would be a good problem for Cora to have and one that would add more excitement to that Red Sox offense. First, however, Dalbec needs to survive even making the team. With the recent addition of first baseman/outfielder Daniel Palka, the pressure will really be on Dalbec to have a strong Spring Training or else start the 2023 season either down in Triple-A Worcester or on another team all together.
With his raw power, the hope is Dalbec puts it all together this season. With his ability to play all over the infield as well as fill in at DH, getting him in the lineup shouldn’t be an issue, especially if that power is put on display in 2023 without the interruption of long, nasty slumps at the plate.
While Fangraphs has Dalbec’s projection in 2023 to be pedestrian, hitting .220 with just 7 homers in 34 games played, we see Dalbec doing a lot better than that as his improvement will mean less at bats for one of the veterans the team brought in. That would be either Turner or outfielder Adam Duvall as Dalbec’s ability to play second could force KiKè Hernandez into the outfield more.
Prediction/Outlook: Bobby Dalbec will hit .255 with 21 homers and 65 RBI.