The Red Sox farm system – having produced a constellation of talent in the past several years – is currently in what baseball experts believe is a low ebb. ESPN analyst Keith Law ranked Boston 24th among MLB farm systems in 2019, as much of the team’s young talent is either already in the majors, or has been traded.
The cupboard is not entirely bare, however, especially in the case of Bobby Dalbec. A 23-year-old third baseman, Dalbec has been in Red Sox spring training trying to test his strength against Major League competition. He’s entering his fourth year as a professional, having played his first three seasons spread among minor league teams in the Red Sox organization.
Dalbec was selected in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB draft out of Arizona, and hit a combined 32 home runs in 543 minor league plate appearances in 2018. Though the Red Sox appear to have third base covered with both Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nunez, Dalbec could convert to first base.
The infield prospect’s talent and natural power at the plate make him an intriguing player to watch during spring training.
He was a dominant college pitcher
Dalbec’s time in college baseball at Arizona showcased his ability as a pitcher as well as a hitter. A gifted athlete who could hit the mid-90s on his fastball, he became the only player in Wildcats program history to reach double digits in wins, saves, and home runs.
In the 2016 College World Series, Dalbec helped propel Arizona to the final. Against Oklahoma State in the championship series, Dalbec pitched eight innings, allowed one run, and struck out 12 in a 1-0 loss.
Still, Dalbec maintained his desire to play in the field when he turned pro. The Red Sox apparently believed he would be allowed to try his hand at hitting before quickly returning to his role as a pitcher. Alex Cora was part of that group.
“I was one of those guys who thought he would hit the first year and after that he was going to be on the mound,” Cora told the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham. “He was amazing.”
He smashed a home run to open spring training
Despite his reputation in college as a player most likely to get to reach the majors as a pitcher, Dalbec has remained a hitter in his time as a professional.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) February 22, 2019
David Price gave him a helping hand on Twitter
Dalbec recently saw a bump in the number of Twitter followers he has, thanks to an effort led by David Price. In 107 minutes, Dalbec gained over 1,500 new followers, helping him cross the 10,000 follower threshold.
— David Price (@DAVIDprice24) February 28, 2019
“He got to 10,000,” Cora amusingly noted of Dalbec’s account afterward. “That’s pretty good. The power of social media.”
J.D. Martinez thinks Dalbec ‘has some tools’
One of the main assets for Dalbec being in Red Sox camp has been the ability to work around (and with) some of the team’s established players. And no one pays more attention to their craft than slugger J.D. Martinez.
“He’s a kid with a lot of talent,” said Martinez. “Kind of likes to talk about hitting, kind of likes to talk the info, stuff like that. He’s done pretty well. I don’ t know enough about him [and] what he’s done. But he’s got some tools, man.”
Dalbec has been happy becoming more comfortable around the veterans.
“It’s cool coming here every day being around them and working with them,” he told reporters.
He’s seen ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ six times
Dalbec makes no secret of his love of music. According to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, the Red Sox infielder has seen the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” six times in theaters. And he recently had a keyboard shipped to him from Colorado so that he could continue to teach himself how to play.
For Dalbec, he tries to utilize his musical understanding to help him as a hitter.
“If I want to get amped up, I’ll listen to Metallica or Avenged Sevenfold or some Zeppelin songs or Rush, just kind of depends on my mood. I can listen to Alice in Chains and ‘Rooster’ and get fired up and try to listen to each instrument separately, it’s pretty fun,” Dalbec told Silverman. “Mellow works. Elton John is pretty mellow, I listen to Billy Joel when I hit sometimes, some of the newer music, electronic stuff that’s very mellow, with very good rhythmic beats which is good to hit to and find the rhythm.”