Red Sox’s Bobby Dalbec Earning Roster Spot In Surprising Way

'He's a great athlete'


Mar 22, 2023

The Red Sox’s roster is starting to take shape as they close in on an Opening Day matchup against the Baltimore Orioles on March 30.

Boston manager Alex Cora and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom still have some decisions to make, however. The Red Sox still need a fifth starter as they wait for Brayan Bello and Garrett Whitlock to get back up to speed. They are also faced with making a decision as to whether they want to keep Jarren Duran or Raimel Tapia as their fifth outfielder.

One decision that appears to have been made for them, however, is that of a utility infielder.

Yu Chang — a true utility man — appeared to have the inside track on the job, until Bobby Dalbec swooped in and essentially stole it.

Chang was a star in the World Baseball Classic, winning MVP of Pool A and eventually being named to the all-tournament team. He has struggled to find his way back from Taiwan, however. That has opened up increased reps at shortstop and third base for Dalbec, who has made the most in his new role as a utility defender.

“His actions are great,” Cora said, per Julian McWilliams of The Boston Globe. “Bobby was like the best defensive third baseman in college baseball when he got drafted and the way he moves, he’s a good defender. The way he thinks the game defensively is very impressive and his arm plays everywhere. So he’s a great athlete.”

Adalberto Mondesi is set to start the season on the injured list, which would put Dalbec in line to receive some innings at shortstop behind Kiké Hernández, a position in which he’s only made three major league appearances.

“I’ve been taking some grounders there a little bit,” Dalbec said, per McWilliams. “Double play stuff is pretty much different. Finding the bags and going up the middle, that angle is a little bit different. It’s just more of a turn. But I feel comfortable at all four infield positions. Mainly third, first and short. Second is probably my least comfortable.”

The 27-year-old has shown enough improvement with his bat, and versatility with his glove to help spark some change in the perception of himself.

“I knew just to be ready for everything,” Dalbec said. “A lot of people think I’m just a very slow swing-and-miss guy. But I’ve been working on getting on base and being a threat on the base path. Whatever I can do to help the team is what I’m going to do.”

Thumbnail photo via Andrew West/The News-Press/USA TODAY Sports Images
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