The Red Sox played their first spring training game of 2019 on Friday afternoon, taking on Northeastern in their annual season opener. The big guys, unsurprisingly, got the victory in the seven-inning contest, grabbing a 6-0 victory. If you’re new here, our spring training recaps are a little different. Mainly, we don’t really care about the sequence of events or even the results here. Instead, we’ll just highlight a few of the happenings from the day.
Bobby Dalbec goes deep
The Red Sox, understandably, didn’t bring out the big guns against the college opponent, instead filling their lineup mostly with minor leaguers and a few big leaguers at the top. None of the stars were in their, but in the cleanup spot was one of their top prospects, Bobby Dalbec. The big third baseman had a monster 2018 that really put him on the map, largely showing off his massive power that carries a lot of his value. Tomorrow morning I’ll have a post up on some of the non-surefire major leaguers that will grab the most headlines this spring, and Dalbec showed why he was on that list. In the second inning, his first at bat wearing a Red Sox uniform, the former two-way star at the University of Arizona launched one out to deep center field for a solo home run. Obviously we can’t take much away from a single swing against a college pitcher, but good lord does Dalbec have pop. It was an easy swing, but Dalbec was still able to put it way over the wall in straightaway center field. Power brings attention, and Dalbec has plenty of it. He also got hit by a pitch in his other at bat and scored another run. His defense is strong at the hot corner as well, though he did have a throwing error.
Darwinzon Hernandez makes a splash, too
Mike Shawaryn got the start for the Red Sox against the college kids, and the potential midseason depth option made the most of the opportunity in front of the big-league coaches. The righty pitched two scoreless innings to kick off the game, allowing just a single while striking out two. It was the next pitcher who really got us excited, though. Another one of the organization’s top prospects, Darwinzon Hernandez, pitched two innings himself. The southpaw also got a mention on that post mentioned above, and like Dalbec he showed why. Hernandez faced six batters and got all of them out, getting three punchouts and three ground outs. The plan right now is for him to start the year as a starter in Portland, but the expectation is that he’ll eventually turn into a reliever. There is still work to be done with his command, but if everything gets figured out there is late-inning potential here.
Domingo Tapia and Josh Taylor pitched the last three innings. The former tossed a scoreless inning with a walk and two strikeouts, while Taylor tossed two scoreless frames with a strikeout while allowing a couple of singles.
The big leaguers struggled
As I said, most of the lineup was filled with minor leaguers, and in the second half of the game it was entirely minor leaguers that are not going to see big-league action this season. The top third of the starting lineup featured three guys who figure to play in the bigs this year including two of the catchers battling for a roster spot. None of them made much of a mark, though. Tzu-Wei Lin led off and went 0-2 with an RBI. Blake Swihart got the start behind the plate and went 0-2, but he did catch a runner stealing third. Christian Vázquez got the nod at DH and also went 0-2.
Michael Chavis plays second
Michael Chavis didn’t start, but he did come in for the second half of the game. The organization’s top prospect (by our rankings, at least) went 0-1, but more interesting was the other side of the ball. Chavis came in to play second base despite being a natural third baseman. There has been a lot of intrigue around where he’ll eventually play as a major leaguer. I’m not a huge believer in his ability to stick in the middle infield, but the Red Sox are going to give him a shot. Chavis did get two chances at the position, making the first play relatively smoothly. On the second, however, he tried to pick up a slow grounder and immediately tag the runner going for second. Instead, he picked up the glove too quickly and was charged with the fielding error.