Dalbec mashing with Triple-A Worcester

June 4th, 2023

BOSTON -- Just when it seemed like Bobby Dalbec was getting ready to fall off the radar after too much inconsistency in his stints at the Major League level, the slugger is having one of the best stretches of his professional career at Triple-A Worcester.

In 40 games with Worcester this season, Dalbec has a line of .310/.426/.662 with 14 homers and 35 RBIs.

While Dalbec’s timing at the plate has improved, the same can’t be said for how his torrid hitting of late coincides with Boston’s roster needs.

The Red Sox are still committed to rookie Triston Casas at first base despite his early-season struggles, and they have Justin Turner, a right-handed hitter, to play there against tough lefties. At the moment, that doesn’t leave a spot for the right-handed-hitting Dalbec.

“Where we’re at roster wise, this is who we have,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “We're glad that he's doing well. You know, not only hitting for power, but hitting for average. But obviously roster wise right now, this is who we have.”

If Dalbec continues to mash, he could turn into a useful trade chip for the Red Sox between now and the end of July. For Dalbec, going to a team that has more roster flexibility at the corner infield spots could be just what he needs.

His performance in recent weeks has certainly been eye-opening. The 515-foot homer that Dalbec hit at Worcester’s Polar Park on May 19 allegedly landed at some point.

Dalbec’s raw power has been a constant. But his overall hitting skills are showing up more in games as the 27-year-old refines his hitting approach.

“First of all, he has not missed too many pitches he can drive which is a huge help when it comes to success and ability to impact the baseball consistently,” said Red Sox director of player development Brian Abraham. “Swing/miss within the zone has always been something that has fluctuated with him -- he has done a really good job of impacting the baseball when he has been challenged.

“Bobby has really focused on his timing and has changed his perspective on what he feels is necessary to be ready each pitch to get off his best, most consistent swing that he can do damage with. Bobby’s daily work and attitude have been very positive, wanting to improve and do what he/our staff feels will get him another opportunity in Boston.”

Double-A Portland: Mayer getting acclimated

Though Marcelo Mayer went hitless in his first 16 at-bats (before rebounding with three hits on Sunday) as a member of the Portland Sea Dogs this week, the real story is that he’s there in the first place. Mayer, the Red Sox's No. 1 prospect, made it to Double-A less than two years after the Red Sox made him the No. 4 pick in the 2021 Draft.

“There never is an exact timeline [for a top prospect going to Double-A], but we try to base our decisions on objective and subjective areas that value and are important for the development of our prospects and all players,” said Abraham. “For Marcelo it was a balance of plate appearances, performance, maturity and the want to continue to challenge him with competition in order for him to improve daily.”

High-A Greenville: Gonzalez’s recent gem

Though Wikelman Gonzalez, Boston’s No. 11 prospect as rated by MLB Pipeline, hasn’t had the consistency he would like so far this season at Greenville, he recently spun a beauty.

On May 27, the righty baffled the Rome Braves, walking none and striking out 12 while allowing no earned runs over 5 1/3 innings. The Sox signed Gonzalez as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 2018. He is 21 years old and leads with a fastball that sits in the mid 90s.

Single-A Salem: Romero getting closer to game action

One downer for the Red Sox this season from a development standpoint is that Mikey Romero, the shortstop they took in the first round of the 2022 Draft and Boston's No. 4 prospect, hasn’t played yet due to a back issue.

There is good news on that front. Romero could soon play some rehab games in the Florida Complex League before getting to his planned destination of Salem.

“He is in a full baseball progression -- swinging/fielding daily in Fort Myers,” said Abraham. “We are hopeful he will get in games later this month -- the FCL season starts June 5. I would classify the injury as low back stiffness that has just taken a little longer than expected.”