With the 118th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, the Boston Red Sox selected Arizona Wildcats star Bobby Dalbec.
Dalbec is the first current Arizona player off the board this year.
4 (118): @RedSox select Arizona 3B Bobby Dalbec. https://t.co/26LumbIVgx #MLBDraft— MLB Draft Tracker (@MLBDraftTracker) June 10, 2016
Coming into 2016, there was a lot of hype surrounding the two-way player. He was named to every preseason All-American team. Expectations were sky-high based on what he had done in the Cape Cod League last summer and his Pac-12-leading 15 home runs in 2015.
But there was a concern about his swing-and-miss rate, even when Baseball America had him as the 18th-best prospect heading into the season. Those concerns were realized big time this year. After Regional play, Dalbec has struck out 76 times in his 207 at bats.
His batting average has dipped as college coaches have figured out how to pitch to him. After hitting .319 in his sophomore year, he’s back down to his freshman year mark of .266 this season. It’s become obvious that he has trouble with offspeed pitches, and with high velocity on the outer half.
He was always an above average fielder at third base, but of late, he has had some problems at the hot corner, which culminated in him being moved out to left field after an early error in the Lafayette Regional.
There is something that has really taken off this year for Dalbec though, and that’s how his pitching game is. You're talking about a guy who can sit in the mid-90s on the radar gun with a couple of legit offspeed pitches.
Dalbec can be used as a starter or reliever. Four of his 25 appearances this season were starts, and he also has seven saves after initially being used as the team’s closer. He sort of found a role as a long reliever/closer for most of the season.
With this pick, there’s an extra safety net, because if the team does decide to start him off as a position player, there’s always the option to move him to the mound full-time if his hitting doesn’t pick up.
#RedSox make a smart moving taking a shot on Bobby Dalbec. Boom or bust but huge 65 all fields power when he's right. + arm, 91-93 on mound— Frankie Piliere (@FPiliereD1) June 10, 2016
Good luck to Dalbec with whatever he ends up doing after this season, but I would not expect him back in an Arizona uniform next year.
Stats via thebaseballcube.com