First Base Problems
Bobby - .147/.213/.235, 30 wRC+ MLB
It feels like Bobby Dalbec needs a stint in AAA to reboot the processors. Early in the year, he was making good contact with not much to show for it, while flashing an encouraging strikeout rate hovering around 25%. If he damaged the ball they way he historically had – while reducing his K-rate to 25% – that is a formula for a very good offensive player. However, as games passed the damage never came, he abandoned his “no leg left” 2-strike approach, and the strikeouts have come back in waves – 2 for 20 with 10 strikeouts in his past 6 games. It’s possible that Dalbec doesn’t have the tools to be a full-time starting player. If he’s deployed against left-handed pitchers, and the occasion right-hander that he profiles well against, maybe that is the way to get the best bang for the buck.
Franchy - .296/.378/.535, 141 wRC+ AAA
If Franchy Cordero is going to get an extended look at first base, it still may be hard to send Dalbec to Worcester. Cordero should be playable defensively at first, but it won’t be perfect, and it seems like you’d want a late inning defensive replacement pretty often. With Travis Shaw sent packing this week, that doesn’t leave a legitimate defensive upgrade without Dalbec. Sure, Christian Arroyo or Kevin Plawecki could play in a pinch, but that doesn’t help if you’re protecting a lead at the end of a game. Shaw looked cooked in spring training, but the Red Sox needed a backup first base placeholder, and it seems like he made the team simply because he signed a contract that was voidable until the middle of May. He provided the team with negative value, and now it’s a tough spot as we wait for…
Triston - .250/.378/.450, 125 wRC+ AAA
Everyone is pining for Triston Casas to come to Boston and solve some Red Sox problems, but Sox problems aren’t going to be what gets Casas to Boston. Casas checking off every developmental box the team has set for him is what the timeline is going to be based on. I’ve watched just about every Casas at-bat this season, mostly by pulling up MILBtv during Red Sox games, rewinding to his trips to the plate, and quickly going through them. There is very limited splits and pitch data for minor league players publicly available, but it feels like Casas is working at-bats at a very professionally level, having no concern getting deep into counts while hunting for his pitches. He’s been excellent at hitting the ball in the air since his arrival in Triple-A last year (35% ground ball rate), and he’s using a heavily skewed opposite field approach so far this season (42%). High walk rate (16%) and fine strikeout rate (22%) highlight a good plan of attack. After a quick and dirty check, I believe Casas is the 7th youngest regular position player in the Triple-A International League. He’s impressive on both sides of the ball, but he has yet to truly dominate, nor has he really scuffled for more than a couple of games before quickly getting back on track. He’ll be ascending to his throne in Boston at some point this year, I’m just not sure if it’s next week or this summer.