Realistic Expectations For Red Sox’ First Baseman Bobby Dalbec in 2021

In 2021, the Boston Red Sox will be starting 25-year-old Bobby Dalbec at first base. After three years of Mitch Moreland consistently manning the bag, Boston is putting the responsibility of the shoulders of its 6’4″ prospect.

Dalbec had a cup of coffee in the majors last year, playing in 23 games. He was able to capitalize on that opportunity by hitting 8 home runs in 80 at-bats. But at the same time, Dalbec had his share of struggles at the plate. The former fourth-round pick of Boston back in 2016 managed a strike out rate of 42.4% during his short stint in the bigs last year

Although it is a very small sample size, strikeouts are nothing new with Dalbec. He is your typical slugger: he hits the ball to the moon or strikes out. In his last full season of baseball (135 games in triple-A), Dalbec was able to hit 27 homers. He also struck out 139 times.

Now obviously if you are Dalbec, that is something you have to work at. But one thing he does not have to put any more effort into is his power.

His smooth right-handed swing has power to all fields. He will most definitely abuse the Green Monster at Fenway Park. Still, that is only if he makes contact.

Now do I care about Dalbec’s strikeout rate? Yes, anything over 40% is way too high. But at the same time, I am not overly worried. In a game where the home runs and strike outs have gone up, Dalbec fits perfectly. Besides, it isn’t like Dalbec will be hitting cleanup to start the year. He will most likely be towards the bottom of the order doing his best to do what he does best: hit bombs.

In no way am I saying I hope Dalbec keeps up with the idea of home run or bust. If he can turn himself into that cleanup hitter that is all well and good. But for 2021, fans should not have that as their expectation. Dalbec ending the year hitting towards the top of Alex Cora’s lineup would be the best case scenario.

In all likelihood, Dalbec will hit around .230 with 25-30 home runs. Based on Baseball Reference’s projections, they expect Dalbec will hit .249 with 16 homers. I tend to think they are giving Dalbec too much credit in the contact department while ignoring his enormous power.

Even so Dalbec will not be playing every day. Marwin Gonzalez will end up taking some reps at first, but regardless of that, Dalbec will have a huge role in 2021 and going forward. Just don’t expect him to be an all-star player right out of the gate (even if that potential is there).

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– Jarrod Ribaudo (@jarrod_ribaudo on Twitter)

Featured image courtesy of Twitter / @LiveBPShow

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