BOSTON -- In advance of Wednesday’s 8 p.m. deadline for teams to protect players for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft, the Red Sox added their top power-hitting prospect to the 40-man roster in corner infielder Bobby Dalbec.
The right-handed hitter could have a shot to make his MLB debut and play a meaningful role in 2020, depending on how the offseason shakes out.
Dalbec spent most of last season at Double-A Portland but moved to Triple-A Pawtucket for the final 30 games. In 135 games overall, he belted 27 homers with an .816 OPS. The Sox selected Dalbec -- a college star at Arizona -- in the fourth round of the 2016 Draft.
Though Rafael Devers has locked down third base in Boston for the foreseeable future, Dalbec has a shot to earn playing time at first base, a position that is still up for grabs heading into next season.
Righty Eduardo Bazardo (No. 26) is the only player from Boston’s Top 30 prospects who was left unprotected.
Wednesday was a significant roster day throughout MLB, as teams prepared for the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at the Winter Meetings in San Diego on Thursday, Dec. 12.
Players first signed at age 18 need to be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted by other organizations through the Rule 5 process. Players signed at 19 years or older have to be protected within four seasons. Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.
For this year, that means an international or high school Draft pick signed in 2015 -- assuming he was 18 or younger as of June 8 of that year -- has to be protected. A college player taken in the '16 Draft is in the same position.
Chatham is a middle infielder who could be ready to help the Red Sox soon. His progress bears watching, as second base continues to be a spot of limbo with Dustin Pedroia still a huge question mark and Brock Holt now a free agent. Chatham also has some experience in left field. The right-handed batter led Red Sox Minor Leaguers with 31 doubles while hitting .298 (130-for-436) with five homers, making 93 starts at shortstop and 12 at second base.
Wilson was the player Boston acquired from Arizona in the trade for Blake Swihart. Not only does Wilson play all three outfield spots, but he has some power and gives the Red Sox depth in the upper Minors at a spot they’ve lacked it the past few years. The right-handed hitter produced a .273 average with 16 homers, 10 stolen bases, and 51 RBIs, while making 100 starts in the outfield in a season split between Class A and Double-A.
Solid though not spectacular, the 27-year-old Hart made 27 appearances (24 starts) between Portland and Pawtucket in 2019, going 12-13 with a 3.52 ERA (61 ER/156.0 IP). He led Red Sox Minor Leaugers in wins, innings, and complete games (two), and ranked second in strikeouts (140). The left-hander threw a shutout in his Triple-A debut on May 30 vs. Lehigh Valley and threw 6 2/3 innings in Portland’s combined no-hitter on April 25 at Binghamton.
The 22-year-old Aybar made 44 relief appearances between Class-A Greenville and Class A Advanced Salem this season, posting a 4.61 ERA (29 ER/56.2 IP) with 70 strikeouts and a .176 opponent batting average (36-for-205).
Boston’s roster is now at 39, and is as follows:
PITCHERS (23): Yoan Aybar, Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Colten Brewer, Nathan Eovaldi, Kyle Hart, Heath Hembree, Darwinzon Hernandez, Brian Johnson, Trevor Kelley, Travis Lakins, Josh Osich, Bobby Poyner, David Price, Denyi Reyes, Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Sale, Mike Shawaryn, Josh Taylor, Hector Velázquez, Marcus Walden, Ryan Weber, Brandon Workman
CATCHERS (2): Sandy León, Christian Vázquez
INFIELDERS (9): Xander Bogaerts, C.J. Chatham, Michael Chavis, Bobby Dalbec, Rafael Devers, Marco Hernández, Tzu-Wei Lin, Dustin Pedroia, Sam Travis
OUTFIELDERS (5): Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., J.D. Martinez, Marcus Wilson