Tomase: Why Dalbec owes JBJ some thanks for his power surge originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Jackie Bradley's bats have recently come alive for Jackie Bradley, but they're really bringing the best out of Bobby Dalbec.
The rookie Red Sox first baseman continued his power surge on Tuesday by homering in both halves of a doubleheader split with the Phillies. Just nine games into his big league career, Dalbec has already blasted five home runs, and he owes the last four of them in part to his Gold Glove teammate.
Bradley has raised his average more than 50 points over the last four weeks, and during a weekend cage session, Dalbec tested his lumber.
"It just feels good," he said. "He was swinging a really good, hot bat. I picked it up in the cage one of the games I was sitting and couldn't put it down and just tried it out and it's been going pretty well."
And how. As the Red Sox evaluate pieces of the future, the sad reality is there's very little on this current roster we didn't already know about that will meaningfully contribute to future seasons. Dalbec is an exception, and he's stating his case by showing power to all fields, particularly over the last four games.
The 6-foot-4, 227-pounder entered the season as Baseball America's No. 75 overall prospect. He homered in his debut on Aug. 30 by poking one around the Pesky Pole.
The first baseman then embarked on a strikeout binge that suggested his biggest potential weakness in the minors -- a lack of consistent contact -- was emerging as a legitimate liability. He struck out nine times in 14 at-bats over four hitless games, his swing looking a split-second slow on fastballs.
Then he ditched his bat for Bradley's and went 2 for 4 with a home run on Saturday vs. the Blue Jays. He added another blast against them on Sunday. Tuesday brought two more homers, and now he's on a roll.
"I never really try to put those kind of goals, home runs and production-wise," he said. "I just want to have good at-bats. Obviously I had a rough stretch and was still striking out a little bit, but I feel really good up there, so I'm just staying confident and staying aggressive and hopefully things will work out. I've just got to keep getting better."
With veteran Mitch Moreland traded to San Diego and second-year man Michael Chavis hitting just .224 with 40 strikeouts in 98 at-bats, there's a real opening for Dalbec to make an impact beyond 2020, not that he's thinking that way.
"Just trying to take it one day at a time and get better every day," he said. "Obviously there's other things to look at, but I just have to stay in the moment and focus on each pitch at a time and keep working hard and getting right."
While Dalbec's emergence has coincided with an adjustment involving his weight transfer, there might be a simpler explanation.
"Just trying to use my lower body better and my back side better," he said. "I was kind of heavy on my front side and not really controlling it, which was allowing me to twist and miss pitches that I shouldn't miss, so it feels good just to be able to have a good routine right now and keep it rolling.
"Also, I started using Jackie Bradley's bat ever since I hit those homers, so I think that's got a lot to do with it, too."