Dalbec, Schwindel top rookies for August

September 2nd, 2021

Two slugging first basemen were named the AL and NL Rookies of the Month for August, with of the Red Sox and of the Cubs nabbing those honors, respectively, on Thursday.

August was a huge rebound month for Dalbec, who carried a .659 OPS through July. The 26-year-old slashed .339/.431/.774 (1.205 OPS) over 24 August games, smashing seven home runs and driving in 21 runs. Among all players with at least 70 plate appearances during the month, Dalbec’s park-adjusted wRC+ of 214 (more than double the MLB average) put him behind only the Rockies’ C.J. Cron -- the NL Player of the Month for August -- across the Majors. Dalbec's damage included a two-homer, seven-RBI game against the Twins on Aug. 26 at Fenway Park.

Critically, Dalbec showed improved command of the strike zone. Through July, he walked in 4.4% of his plate appearances and struck out in 37.5%, but in August he had an 11.1% walk rate and a 25.0% strikeout rate.

While Dalbec was a Top 100 prospect before arriving in the Majors late last season, Schwindel took a different path. The 29-year-old Cubs first baseman was an 18th-round pick by the Royals in 2013 out of St. John’s and he has since logged nearly 3,500 plate appearances in the Minors. Schwindel got a brief stint with the Royals in 2019, but he was released that May. He made it back to the Majors with Oakland on June 30, but he appeared in only eight games before being designated for assignment.

The Cubs claimed Schwindel off waivers in mid-July and called him up on July 30. With Anthony Rizzo traded to the Yankees at the Trade Deadline, Schwindel took advantage of the opportunity to become the team’s regular first baseman. He slashed .344/.394/.635 (1.030 OPS) in August, with six home runs and 18 RBIs in 26 games, before opening September with a homer and three RBIs on Wednesday at Minnesota.