Three True Outcomes, The Bobby Dalbec Thread.

nvalvo

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A lot will depend on whether they sustain their hot start. But given the strength of the lineup, the competence of the starting rotation, the effectiveness of the bullpen, and the organizational depth, I think this is shaping up into a contention year.

If Erod had looked rusty, or Pivetta imploded, or Whitlock seemed out of his depth, or Barnes was having a bad year, or JD looked cooked. . .we'd be having a different conversation maybe.

But thus far all the coin flips seem to be heads, except maybe Dalbec - but he's shown signs of life lately.
On this point: Dalbec had a rough first series against the O's, going 0/10 with a BB and 5 Ks (50% K rate), but since then: .314/.368/.486, with three BB and 12 Ks in 38 PAs (32% K rate).

Crucially, that fast stabilizing K rate has fallen to 35 percent overall, which is probably playable.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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On this point: Dalbec had a rough first series against the O's, going 0/10 with a BB and 5 Ks (50% K rate), but since then: .314/.368/.486, with three BB and 12 Ks in 38 PAs (32% K rate).

Crucially, that fast stabilizing K rate has fallen to 35 percent overall, which is probably playable.
Without looking it up... based on the amount I've seen, I'm betting his BABiP is pretty high with that .314 BA. He seems to have had a lot of bad swings fall in for singles... but despite that, I'm still bullish on him. He looks good in the field and suspect with more reps he'll become a GG caliber 1B there. I also think he'll lock in and start launching HR's sooner rather than later. I'm still thinking he'll crank around 30 this season.
 

Rwillh11

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Without looking it up... based on the amount I've seen, I'm betting his BABiP is pretty high with that .314 BA. He seems to have had a lot of bad swings fall in for singles... but despite that, I'm still bullish on him. He looks good in the field and suspect with more reps he'll become a GG caliber 1B there. I also think he'll lock in and start launching HR's sooner rather than later. I'm still thinking he'll crank around 30 this season.
His xWOBA, which is derived from exit velocity and launch angle, is super high (.434 - 23rd among players with at least 40 PA). So he's hitting the ball hard rather than just getting lucky. His bapip (.393) is unsustainably high but the way he is hitting the ball you would expect some HR to make up for that going forward.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Without looking it up... based on the amount I've seen, I'm betting his BABiP is pretty high with that .314 BA. He seems to have had a lot of bad swings fall in for singles... but despite that, I'm still bullish on him. He looks good in the field and suspect with more reps he'll become a GG caliber 1B there. I also think he'll lock in and start launching HR's sooner rather than later. I'm still thinking he'll crank around 30 this season.
.393. Coincidentally, it was .394 last year. His exit velocity is up over last year from 89.9 to 91.6 and his LD% is at a ridiculous 46.4% right now, compared to 26.8% last year. The league average is 27.3%.

Cheap hits are falling but he's having bad luck on well hit balls.
 

Cesar Crespo

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But thus far all the coin flips seem to be heads, except maybe Dalbec - but he's shown signs of life lately.
On this point: Dalbec had a rough first series against the O's, going 0/10 with a BB and 5 Ks (50% K rate), but since then: .314/.368/.486, with three BB and 12 Ks in 38 PAs (32% K rate).

Crucially, that fast stabilizing K rate has fallen to 35 percent overall, which is probably playable.
Without looking it up... based on the amount I've seen, I'm betting his BABiP is pretty high with that .314 BA. He seems to have had a lot of bad swings fall in for singles... but despite that, I'm still bullish on him. He looks good in the field and suspect with more reps he'll become a GG caliber 1B there. I also think he'll lock in and start launching HR's sooner rather than later. I'm still thinking he'll crank around 30 this season.
His xWOBA, which is derived from exit velocity and launch angle, is super high (.434 - 23rd among players with at least 40 PA). So he's hitting the ball hard rather than just getting lucky. His bapip (.393) is unsustainably high but the way he is hitting the ball you would expect some HR to make up for that going forward.
.393. Coincidentally, it was .394 last year. His exit velocity is up over last year from 89.9 to 91.6 and his LD% is at a ridiculous 46.4% right now, compared to 26.8% last year. The league average is 27.3%.

Cheap hits are falling but he's having bad luck on well hit balls.
 

Cesar Crespo

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And defense

Dalbec appears to be an excellent fielder at first base. He's rangy and has soft hands and has already made some remarkable plays. We all want to see him hit, but his glove seems to be enough to give him extra leeway in terms of getting things figured out at the plate. We know he has prodigious power.
His only weakness at 1st so far, at least to my eyes, is around the bag. Fielding throws, holding runners on, etc. He still looks a bit out of place doing those things. There have been a couple plays where the throws weren't great but a seasoned first baseman scoops them without trouble. He's also backed off and let a couple throws bounce up near his chest rather than stretching out and picking the ball on a short hop well out in front of his body, and those are precious milliseconds that allows runners to beat the throw.

That's stuff that can be fixed with experience and more work, so I'm not too worried about it.
His range seems a function of his height, if that makes any sense. He should be a pretty good 1b though. He's probably a marginally better 3b than Devers (not enough to bother).
 

uncannymanny

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The triple last night was beautiful. Nice, easy, 400’ rope. Didn’t know he had the wheels to get to 3B on that either.
 

TonyPenaNeverJuiced

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On the defense eye-test: he's scaring me in what he does at first base, but I often like the results. He botched one scoop yesterday and inexplicably grabbed another with a sweeping motion that worried me, he launched the ball into the moon. But for a starting point, as an MLB, nearly every day 1B starter? There's a lot to be excited about.

I'd like to see him be more aggressive in his ABs. (Again, eye-test) he's taken many hittable pitches, and I'm not sure what he's searching for.
 

joe dokes

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I'd like to see him be more aggressive in his ABs. (Again, eye-test) he's taken many hittable pitches, and I'm not sure what he's searching for.
To me, it's much like Hernandez trying to be a "typical" leadoff hitter (take pitches, not free-swinging, not who he is) messed with him for a couple of weeks, Dalbec might be trying not to swing and miss. It's 50PAs. If he really is trying to overcompensate for his low-contact-ness, I'm sure Cora or Hyers or Fatse will pull him aside and remind him to rip it.
 

burstnbloom

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I honestly don't think Bobby should change anything. He is #10 in the league in barrel% at 19.4% with a somewhat manageable 34% k rate (dont get me wrong, this is a bottom 10% number but I think around expected for Bobby when he's scuffling). I think the home runs are coming soon. I think he's having some weird anomalous results that happen in any 50 PA sample that will normalize here pretty quickly.
 

Chainsaw318

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I honestly don't think Bobby should change anything. He is #10 in the league in barrel% at 19.4% with a somewhat manageable 34% k rate (dont get me wrong, this is a bottom 10% number but I think around expected for Bobby when he's scuffling). I think the home runs are coming soon. I think he's having some weird anomalous results that happen in any 50 PA sample that will normalize here pretty quickly.
I am in agreeance with this thinking. From the last several years of following Dalbec in the minors, this is part of the package.

The contact skills are overall below-average, the patience is above-average, the power is well above-average. He is going to have patient at-bats and then swing and miss.

He has shown the ability to make some adjustments to limit his strike outs, but it won’t impact below-average contact. He’s likely always a sub-.250 hitter.

There have been periods (right after his call-up last year was one) when the power and contact skills line up and he goes nuclear for a series or two. It feels like a good guy to have in the lower-half of the lineup.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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That wxOBA data is pretty cool. I had not seen that before.

Clicking around a bit more on that page you see that Dalbec has the 13th lowest SLG diff which measures the difference between his actual and xSLG. His being -.235. Devers is eighth at -.245 with an expected SLG of .785 (!!!). Sorting the chart by positive diff and we see Arroyo, Xander, and Franchy in the top-15, all outperforming their SLG. Franchy has a true slugging of .289 and an xSLG of .203. Oof.
 

burstnbloom

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That wxOBA data is pretty cool. I had not seen that before.

Clicking around a bit more on that page you see that Dalbec has the 13th lowest SLG diff which measures the difference between his actual and xSLG. His being -.235. Devers is eighth at -.245 with an expected SLG of .785 (!!!). Sorting the chart by positive diff and we see Arroyo, Xander, and Franchy in the top-15, all outperforming their SLG. Franchy has a true slugging of .289 and an xSLG of .203. Oof.
Ya, not ideal. Obvious SSS caveats apply with all of this stuff. Franchy is hitting a lot of ground balls softly and getting decent results on them. He has yet to barrell a ball and he's striking out A LOT. All of his front end statcast stuff is off (LA, avg exit velocity) from his career norms so it could just be that he's not locked in right now and its only 20 balls in play.
 

chawson

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Ya, not ideal. Obvious SSS caveats apply with all of this stuff. Franchy is hitting a lot of ground balls softly and getting decent results on them. He has yet to barrell a ball and he's striking out A LOT. All of his front end statcast stuff is off (LA, avg exit velocity) from his career norms so it could just be that he's not locked in right now and its only 20 balls in play.
Franchy seems pretty focused on hitting the ball the other way, which makes sense as something they’d have him work on (particularly with changeups). He looks a little timid up there to my eyes but it’s early and cold and the team seems fun enough that I expect he’ll loosen up.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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Franchy seems pretty focused on hitting the ball the other way, which makes sense as something they’d have him work on (particularly with changeups). He looks a little timid up there to my eyes but it’s early and cold and the team seems fun enough that I expect he’ll loosen up.
I’m seeing the same thing. Not seeing him aggressively turn on many pitches. Too many defensive oppo swings, even in mid counts.
 
Cora and Hiers have a very clear adaptive approach to hitting. Sometimes it shows up very clearly and successfully - especially against good pitching when you see the hitters shortening their swings with runners on base and punching outside pitches to the opposite field. At other times, especially against mediocre pitching, hitters revert back to their bad habits and try to crush everything. The three "true outcome" hitters, Dalbec, Renfroe and Cordero, appear to be having a difficult time adapting to the Cora/Hiers style of play and all have looked pretty pitiful making weak contact or whiffing on a steady diet of pitches out of the zone. When they have made solid contact, it's mostly been warning-track power, either due to weather or slightly deadened balls (or both). Of the three, Dalbec at least appears to be trying to be more adaptive, but it's still a work in progress.
 

bluefenderstrat

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Cora and Hiers have a very clear adaptive approach to hitting. Sometimes it shows up very clearly and successfully - especially against good pitching when you see the hitters shortening their swings with runners on base and punching outside pitches to the opposite field. At other times, especially against mediocre pitching, hitters revert back to their bad habits and try to crush everything. The three "true outcome" hitters, Dalbec, Renfroe and Cordero, appear to be having a difficult time adapting to the Cora/Hiers style of play and all have looked pretty pitiful making weak contact or whiffing on a steady diet of pitches out of the zone. When they have made solid contact, it's mostly been warning-track power, either due to weather or slightly deadened balls (or both). Of the three, Dalbec at least appears to be trying to be more adaptive, but it's still a work in progress.
The bottom of the lineup is a major concern if those guys aren't doing the main thing that makes them useful as offensive players.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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Sounds like a golden opportunity. Those are the easiest positions to improve on offensively.
We have to assume these guys get a good chance to produce, right? Bloom knew he was taking a chance with unproven Franchy, he knew he was looking for a bounce back from Renfroe, and he knew Dalbec wouldn’t keep hitting 7 Johnsons every 10 games (or whatever his 2020 sample was). They rolled the dice with these guys hoping to compete but also knowing this is something of a bridge year.
So I’m assuming these guys have til the ASB/trade deadline. I think the interesting thing is where the inflection point to make a change comes. If these guys (any or all) aren’t producing and the Sox are still in front, do they say “we’ve made it this far, with them, let’s keep running them out there”? Or do they jump into GFIN mode and make upgrades?
What about if the Sox are behind a little, but still in it? Is it worth it to push some chips in, or just okay with what you’ve got?
 

Sprowl

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I merged six posts from the Garrett Whitlock thread into this Bobby Dalbec thread.
 

pokey_reese

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I almost posted about this last night, but accidentally deleted it and didn't feel like typing it all up again. In any case, looking at the sweet new Statcast data section of Fangraphs, you can get a good sense that Dalbec is indeed smoking the ball and making great contact, so you have to figure the hits will come. He is 23rd out of 260 hitters in barrel%, 94th in hardhit% (right next to Verdugo), 28th in LD%, and his expected outcomes from such contact put him in the top 50ish range in slugging and xOBA. You hit that many hard line drives, a few will sneak out and the rest should start at least turning into doubles.
 

Danny_Darwin

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For those considering first base targets for trades, Kevin Goldstein suggests C. J. Cron, who seems like a not-exciting but plausible option. He’s hitting well right now - Coor’s Field caveats apply, of course, but even if he reverts to what he’s always been back at sea level, he’d be acceptable. I dare say that his typical performance is not all that far off from what you’d hope to get out of Dalbec. I doubt he’d cost much of anything, and he isn’t getting paid too much either (he’s on a minor-league deal). Something to think about.
 

chawson

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For those considering first base targets for trades, Kevin Goldstein suggests C. J. Cron, who seems like a not-exciting but plausible option. He’s hitting well right now - Coor’s Field caveats apply, of course, but even if he reverts to what he’s always been back at sea level, he’d be acceptable. I dare say that his typical performance is not all that far off from what you’d hope to get out of Dalbec. I doubt he’d cost much of anything, and he isn’t getting paid too much either (he’s on a minor-league deal). Something to think about.
Cron’s a great stopgap target and I’m all for making deals with the Rockies with their front office in shambles. Márquez has slid a bit from down ballot Cy Young guy to change-of-scenery candidate, mostly due to the park, but it’s probably a good time to peel some players out of there.