In 2013, Bobby graduated from Legend High School in Parker, Colorado. He hit .390 with 9 homers as a senior. Bobby also played basketball.
Bobby has one younger sister.
Dalbec's favorite professional sports teams include the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, and Oklahoma City Thunder. His hobbies include basketball.
Dalbec accepted a baseball scholarship to the University of Arizona. He enrolled in the College of Letters, Arts and Science as a general studies major. Bobby aspires to go into the music industry after baseball career.
In 2016, Bobby dominated on the mound at the College World Series. This led to plenty of questions about why the Red Sox intended to develop him as a third baseman. Once he reported to short-season Lowell, those questions faded, both because the 21-year-old made clear that he wanted to be a full-time position player and because he showed an enormous offensive ceiling, as he had in the 2015 Cape Cod League, when he slugged 12 homers in 27 games.
June 2016: The Red Sox chose Dalbec in the 4th round, out of the Univ. of Arizona. He signed for $650,000, via scout Vaughn Williams.
2016: Dalbec made waves for all the right reasons. In 34 games for the Lowell Spinners (Low-A), he hit .386 with a 1.101 OPS, 7 home runs, 25 runs, 33 runs batted in, 9 walks and 33 strikeouts over 143 plate appearances.
In 2017, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Dalbec as the 5th-best prospect in the Red Sox organization. He dropped to #16 a year later, early in 2018.
In 2019, Bobby was named as the #1 prospect in the Red Sox system. In 2020, he dropped to #2. And then to #3 in the offseason before 2021 spring camps opened.
In 2018, Dalbec was named the Red Sox Minor Leaguer of the Year for offensive and defensive excellence. MLB Pipeline also awarded Dalbec as the Hitting Prospect of the Year for the Red Sox.
MLB debut (Aug. 30, 2020): Dalbec belted a two-run homer down the line in right field in his second MLB at-bat.
2020 Season: It was a really interesting first taste of the Majors for Dalbec, who got his shot at the highest level as soon as Mitch Moreland was traded away at the deadline. There were some aspects of his play that cast a bit of doubt regarding his ability to stick as a starter long-term, but looking just at the small sample performance in 2020, it’s hard to complain.
Over his 92 plate appearances, Dalbec hit .263/.359/.600 for a very impressive 152 wRC+. Obviously there is a large grain of salt with which one should take any number over 92 plate appearances, but it’s all we have to judge on and it was good.
The biggest positive takeaway, to the surprise of no one who followed Dalbec through his time in the minors, was the power. Dalbec, quite simply, can destroy the baseball on a regular basis. His first career hit was fittingly a home run, and he ended up hitting eight of them on the year. Over 600 plate appearances, for whatever it’s worth, that works out to 52 homers.
Perhaps we should not be counting on that many homers from the first baseman, but there is very little doubt the power in general is real. It has been apparent since the moment he was drafted out of the University of Arizona, and it wasn’t just the home run numbers that reinforced it in 2020. Dalbec did also smack a few doubles to bring his Isolated Power (SLG - AVG) up to .338. Again, small samples can kind of cast some doubt on the validity of that number moving forward as well.
If you are looking for a bit more to be excited about, though, consider that Dalbec simply crushed the ball on a regular basis. His hard-hit rate of 44 percent was seven percentage points higher than the league average. Furthermore, he barreled (the best type of batted ball; a measure of exit velocity combined with launch angle) a crazy 22 percent of his batted balls, compared to a league-average rate of just above seven percent.
So, when Dalbec did put balls in play he typically did so with authority, which showed up in his power numbers above all else. That’s not to say he only had success when the ball was put into play though. The rookie is a clear example of a three true outcome player, meaning a large share of his plate appearances end with either a homer, a strikeout or a walk. It is that third part that is probably the most underrated aspect of his game. There were some inconsistencies with his walk rate in the upper minors as it took him a bit to adjust to new levels with his patience, but for the most part he drew walks at least 10 percent of the time.
He didn’t continue the trend in the majors of struggling to draw walks immediately upon promotion, finishing the season with a walk rate just under 11 percent. A big part of the reason Dalbec was able to draw so many walks is largely because he simply didn’t see a lot of strikes. His 36 percent swing rate on pitches out of the zone was five percentage points worse than league-average, but that was canceled out by the fact that he saw strikes only 38 percent of the time.
The league-average zone rate in 2020 was a shade above 41 percent, per FanGraphs. Dalbec’s inability to make contact on these pitches out of the zone — 36 percent contact rate compared to a league-average rate of 61 percent — also helped keep at bats going long enough for a walk to occur while also helping avoid weak contact.
Dalbec likely needs to clean up his swing rate on bad pitches a bit, but given the amount of power in his bat I wouldn’t expect a major uptick in zone rate as pitchers won’t want to give him too many good pitches to hit. (Matt_Collins@MattRyCollins - Nov 2, 2020)
- 2021 Season: 25 home runs, 50 runs scored, 78 RBI, .240/.298/.494 slash, 107 wRC+. You could have used those in deeper formats, but that line doesn’t look particularly impressive, right? Boston Red Sox slugger Bobby Dalbec didn’t have a great 2021 as a whole, even if that kind of power certainly played well in some deep leagues.
Now, let’s look at these stats: .269/.344/.611, 15 home runs, .955 OPS, 149 wRC+. That’s what Dalbec did in the second half in 195 plate appearances, much more in line with his performance over his minor league career.
He was so bad before the break (.219/.264/.409, .673 OPS, 76 wRC+) that it ended up wrecking his final season line. But there definitely was a skill change after the All-Star game.
In the minors, he used to post walk rates around 14 and 15 percent, so he has significant projection in that particular area and could be an asset in OBP leagues. Don’t count on an average over .260, but there is plenty he can offer to your fantasy team.
Dalbec upped his walk rate from half to half (4.7% in the first vs. 8.2% in the second), and also cut his strikeout rate significantly (36.8% vs. 31.3%). He still has contact issues, but he has become a very interesting target around the 220-230 pick. (aecu13 Jan 28, 2022)
|Birth City:||Seattle, WA|
|Draft:||Red Sox #4 - 2016 - Out of Univ. of Arizona|
Dalbec is kind of an all-or-nothing hitter. He's a guy with a vast amount of raw power, enough to grade 80, top-of-the-line on the 20-80 scouting scale. And he comes complete with lots of swings-and-misses in the mix. He has a power hitter's extension and top notch bat speed, destroying baseballs. His hit tool is a below-average 40 grade.
Bobby has massive all-fields power with enough strength and leverage to allow even some mis-hits to leave the yard to right field. He also has sizable holes for big league pitchers to exploit, both on elevated fastballs as well as breaking balls and off-speed pitches below the zone. The cerebral Dalbec posted a 42.4 percent strikeout rate in the big leagues but has shown the ability to adjust and lower his strikeout rate throughout his pro career. (Alex Speier - Baseball America Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2021)
Dalbec is the epitome of a three-true-outcomes player, averaging 33 homers, 80 walks and 203 strikeouts per 162 games during his first four years in pro ball. His raw power ranks among the best in baseball, and he creates it with a combination of strength, bat speed and loft in his right-handed swing and an overly aggressive approach. He's usually determined to hit the ball as far as he possibly can, though he's at his best when he shows some selectivity and uses the middle of the field. (Spring 2020)
Bobby is incredibly strong, allowing him to drive the ball out to all fields. His plate discipline is a strength that gives him solid on-base numbers regardless of his average. Still, his frame both creates holes in his swing and magnifies mechanical inefficiencies.
Most of his struggles occur due to issues in the direction and timing of the weight transfer in his lower half, staying back for too long and then spinning off the ball while rushing forward. But when locked in, his homers come in bunches.
But late in the 2019 season, the Red Sox worked with Dalbec on the consistency of his stride to the ball, something the team’s coaches felt might help reduce his strikeout rate.
Already, Dalbec made significant strides putting the ball in play in 2019, dropping his strikeout rate from 32 percent in 2018 to 25 percent last year. Still, while the righthanded-hitting Dalbec can mis-hit the ball and still drive it out to right-center field, the consistency of hard contact was less than ideal.
Dalbec hit .239/.356/.460 with 27 home runs between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket last season.
At times, Red Sox hitting coaches felt that Dalbec got locked up on his back leg in his swing rather than achieving a smooth weight transfer to his front foot. When he stayed on his back leg, he’d reach towards the ball with his front foot and end up spinning off the ball, resulting in either swings and misses or weak contact. After that behind-the-scenes work, Dalbec had a chance to test his adjustments in the Premier12 international tournament. While hitting .250/.364/.500 with 10 strikeouts in 34 plate appearances, Dalbec felt the adjustments take hold. (Alex Speier - Baseball America - March 2020)
Scouts know Bobby could crush a mistake—he has plus-plus raw power. His steadily improving at-bats give hope. Nobody expects Dalbec to be an average hitter, but if he hits .240 he will hit enough home runs to be a productive regular. He has a 45 grade hit tool.
“My God, what power,” exclaimed one scout. To get to that elite power, he will need to control his strikeout rate,. It’s a challenge made greater by a hand hitch in his swing. But some believe that Dalbec’s hitting intellect will allow him to hit enough to make an impact, particularly given that (A) he handled good fastballs in the zone in 2018, (B) he may benefit from a more consistent strike zone as he moves up, and (C) he has the ability to stay back on pitches rather than selling out for power. He can hit line drives to right-center field that carry over the fence.
Still, some evaluators view his profile as risky given the frequency with which he chases secondary pitches out of the strike zone. (Alex Speier - BA Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2019)
Bobby also pitched while at the Univ. of Arizona, taking away from his time in the cage. Afforded the opportunity to focus solely on hitting in the summer of 2016, Dalbec locked in consistent mechanics after a season where he’d constantly tinkered. The approach translated to an all-fields power display that suggested a middle-of-the-order ceiling.
Bobby has legit righthanded power that no ballpark can hold. But getting into hitter's counts, and/or making enough consistent contact to legitimize being in the lineup ... well, we will see. (Spring, 2017)
After a junior year in which Dalbec’s approach proved inconsistent with varying stances, loads and strides that made it difficult for him to repeat his swing, he relaxed and smoothed out his mechanics in short-season Lowell with dazzling results.
The pull-happy approach he showed at the Univ. of Arizona in 2016, was replaced by an up-the-middle emphasis in which Dalbec showed a vastly improved ability to make contact and to drive the ball with prodigious power to all fields.
In 2017, Dalbec struck out a shocking 37.4 percent of the time. Though he battled with a sore wrist, which resulted in surgery to remove a hamate bone, there were concerns with Bobby being able to recognize breaking pitches. And he swung through a lot of hittable fastballs in the strike zone. (Spring, 2018)
Bobby is now displaying a more selective early-count approach and a refined plan of attack with two strikes.
“Can we improve on process, getting acclimated to a higher level?” hitting coordinator Greg Norton said. “Can we make improvements? Yes. His willingness to work, his ability, he’ll continue to build on that.
“(He is trying) to tighten up the zone, not chase as many pitches. I think the odds are, if Bobby can stay in the zone more often, with the power and ability he has with the bat, the more damage he can do.”
If Dalbec can make adjustments to become a more complete hitter, the Red Sox see a player with the upside of an everyday third baseman.
“If he can be consistent, he’s a middle-of-the-lineup guy with plus power,” Norton said. “He’s a big guy, athletic at third with a good arm. He’s got all the tools in the tool belt. It’s just continuing to do the work, which he will.” (Alex Speier - Baseball America - 6/01/2018)
In 2018, Dalbec showed the ability to clear the fences to all fields with ease en route to 32 homers, including a franchise record 26 for high Class A Salem before a promotion to Double-A Portland. He also place second with 70 extra-base hits and 109 RBIs.
“He’s hit balls to parts of the ballpark that, in the three years I’ve been here, I hadn’t seen them leave the ballpark,” Salem manager Joe Oliver said. “The ability for him to hit the ball out to right field and not even put effort into it, that’s just how strong he is. It’s really impressive and I think it’s elite.”
In 2019, the Baseball America Best Tools Survey of managers, coaches an evaluators rated Bobby #1 in four categories: Power Prospect, Strike Zone Judgment, Infield Arm, and Most Exciting player in the Eastern League!
2019 Season: Bobby Dalbec, 3B/1B. Selected in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, Dalbec hasn’t hit for much average, but his power has certainly been impressive. The Arizona product has hit 59 homers over the past two seasons, including seven through 30 games in his first experience at the Triple-A level.
While Dalbec has improved as a defender, he’s currently blocked at third base in Boston, but he did start getting some experience at first base in 2019, which could expedite his path to the Majors.
2020 Season: Bobby's power-hitting performance did come with the caveat that Dalbec’s strikeout rate was a sky-high 42%, while he swung and missed at nearly 23% of the pitches he saw—the third-highest rate in the Majors. But Dalbec also walked in 10.9 percent of his plate appearances, and when he made contact, he typically did damage.
“There are going to be streaks in his game. Power guys usually come that way. But, wow, the way he impacts the ball is impressive,” Red Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers said of Dalbec. “There are going to be strikeouts in there, there are going to be ups and downs, but I know he’s battling to be more consistent.
"Me, personally, I think he can. I think there’s not going to be such a peak and valley with him.”
Sept 8, 2020: Dalbec, who went deep in the 6-5 loss in Game 1, has homered in four straight games. He is the first Red Sox rookie to accomplish that feat, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“It feels amazing. It’s crazy,” said Dalbec. “I would never think that I would have some crazy stat like that and my name to be in there, but I’m very fortunate to be in this position, so it’s awesome.”
In 2020, the Red Sox got a glimpse of their No. 3 prospect’s raw power. Dalbec hit .263/.359/.600 with 8 homers in 23 games after Mitch Moreland was traded to the Padres. There is swing and miss in his game (42.4 percent strikeout rate), but the pop is real.
After garnering Kris Bryant comparisons coming out of the draft, Dalbec hit 59 home runs over his final two Minor League seasons. He’ll get his chance to tap into that every night in Alex Cora’s lineup, whether it's at first base or his natural position of third.
April 13, 2021: The 25-year-old corner infielder has 60-grade power, but today's performance was one of the few times he's made a big impact for the Red Sox in the 2021 season. Although he's 5-for-28 (.179) with 10 strikeouts, there's cause to believe he's turning things around: Dalbec also doubled in Boston's previous game.
Dalbec swatted two opposite-field RBI doubles in Boston's 4-2 win over Minnesota. And not only did he come through with a pair of run-scoring doubles, but both hits came in big spots. Dalbec, who finished 2-for-3, tied the game with a double down the right-field line during a snowy fifth inning for his first hit of the day. Three frames later, the No. 85 overall prospect came through with another knock to give the Red Sox their first lead of the day. (J Jackson - MLB.com - April 14, 2021)
April 19, 2021: Historic Patience: Bobby worked a 14-pitch walk—fouling off 8—against Lucas Giolito in the first inning. Only three other Red Sox players have had longer at-bats (15 pitches) that ended in a walk since 1988, when the pitch-count era began.
Sept. 15, 2021: Fewest games to reach 30 career HR (Red Sox):
1. Walt Dropo – 121 2. Tony Conigliaro – 131 3. Bobby Dalbec – 143 4. Ted Williams – 144
- As of the start of the 2022 season, Bobby's career Major League stats were a .243 batting average, 33 home runs and 121 hits with 94 RBI in 497 at-bats.
Dalbec spent most of his time at first base in Boston, he continues to be somewhat stiff there and remains a work in progress. He is more natural at third base, where he is a solid defender and his arm plays as double-plus. But he’s blocked by Rafael Devers. (BA Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2021)
Bobby shows quickness, anticipation, and range in the field, with the hands and footwork to play solid defense at third. While he’s still acclimating to first base and reads of the ball off the bat on the right side of the infield, he made considerable strides at the position with increased exposure to it in 2019. (Spring, 2020)
Though his home run prowess draws the most attention, Dalbec is more than just a masher. Despite below-average speed, he has worked to transform himself into a solid third baseman, showing a well above-average arm that once delivered low-90s fastballs and effective sliders in college. He offers similar power and better defense than Rafael Devers, but most of his playing time in Boston figures to come at first base. (Spring 2020)
Dalbec has a strong arm at third base. He was hitting 93 mph as a reliever for the Univ. of Arizona in 2016. He has a 70 grade arm, and is a 55 grade defender at the hot corner. (Spring, 2019)
In 2018, Dalbec displayed an outstanding arm as well as more athleticism and range than is typical for a 6-foot-5 player.
Though a 6-foot-4 frame sometimes works against third basemen, Dalbec shows surprising quickness and range, excellent hands and a cannon arm that delivered mid-90s fastballs from the mound.
He also saw time at first base in the Arizona Fall League after the 2018 season.
- In 2020 and 2021 for the Red Sox, Dalbec played both first base and third base. But mostly third base. (Baseball-Reference.com - Oct 2021)
- Bobby's pretty slow.
- May 11-July 12, 2017: Dalbec was on the DL for a couple of months after having surgery to remove his hamate bone.