Well, this one was a little closer, at least. After the first four picks were mostly set in stone, most of the experts start to diverge on Boston’s system at the five spot. Our community has deemed the fifth best prospect to be Bobby Dalbec, who took 49 percent of the vote.
The third baseman was Boston’s fourth round pick in last summer’s draft, making him the second recent draftee to be listed in the team’s top five. Looking at his statline in his first professional season, it starts to make some sense. He took the New York Penn League by storm in 2016, hitting .386/.427/.674 over 143 plate appearances. He also smashed seven home runs in that time, which is a 29 dinger pace over a 600 plate appearance season. He didn’t get the bump up to Greenville in his first season like Andrew Benintendi did in his first year, but he put on the same type of show in Lowell.
The unfortunate thing is Dalbec’s scouting report doesn’t exactly match those numbers. It’s important to remember he was a college bat, and while he didn’t hit full time at the University of Arizona, he was still somewhat advanced for that level. It’s great to see that he mashed against NYPL pitching, since that’s all he could do. It doesn’t guarantee success against more advanced arms, though. According to scouts, the power is very much for real but his swing can get long and that’s the type of profile that can get eaten up as you move up the ladder. Even while he was tearing it up in Lowell, he still struck out 23 percent of the time.
The negativity doesn’t mean there’s no hope, of course. As I said, he wasn’t a full-time hitter in college, so he’s never been able to totally focus on that. Now he’ll be able to put pitching out of his mind and work with (presumably) better coaches. If he can knock that hit tool up a grade or two, he’ll be able to really tap into the power potential and will be a major-league bat. There’s still work ahead, though.
Looking forward to 2017, it will be interesting to see how aggressive the Red Sox will be with Dalbec. As a college bat, it wouldn’t be unheard of to have him skip Low-A Greenville and send him right to Salem. This is where Sox Prospects projects him to play. On the other hand, given how volatile his swing can be, it might make sense to start him in Greenville to get him some confidence before promoting him mid-season. This would also give Michael Chavis a chance to take ownership of the third base job in Salem. Either way, it’s going to be a really interesting season for Dalbec, and we’re almost certainly going to be looking at him very differently at this time next year. Whether or not the change will be positive remains to be seen.
Here are our rankings so far:
- Andrew Benintendi
- Rafael Devers
- Jason Groome
- Sam Travis
- Bobby Dalbec
Now, we move on to the bottom half of the top-ten. As always, cast your vote below.