Because the home dugout situated down the first baseline is rather small at Hadlock Field, Double-A Sea Dogs hitting coach Lee May sits just to the left of it, behind the batboy and on-deck circle. He calls it the "best seat in the house." It's an optimal vantage point for
Because the home dugout situated down the first baseline is rather small at Hadlock Field, Double-A Sea Dogs hitting coach Lee May sits just to the left of it, behind the batboy and on-deck circle. He calls it the "best seat in the house." It's an optimal vantage point for viewing a right-handed batter hit a ball over the Maine Monster, Portland's tribute to its parent ballpark's counterpart.
Bobby Dalbec supplied such a shot in a 7-1 win over Trenton on Monday night, except this ball did not just clear the oversized fence. It sailed so high that it went over the light tower that illuminates left field.
"I don't think I've seen a ball hit as far as the ball he hit," May said. "... It was majestic."
Boston's No. 2 prospect homered again in the eighth and knocked in three runs on the night. Dalbec also popped a big fly Sunday for three dingers in two days after going homerless from June 12-29. He's using the long ball to find his way out of a slump that bogged him down at the plate during most of June.
The 2016 fourth-rounder's no-doubter came in the sixth with ninth-ranked Jarren Duran aboard and Thunder right-hander Andrew Bellatti on the mound. Southpaw Trevor Lane met the same fate in the eighth when Dalbec's solo shot went over the fence in center.
The 24-year-old also walked in the third during his 2-for-4 night. His ability to draw a free pass might have been one of the bigger takeaways from last month. Although he hit just .198, he drew 22 walks to bring his on-base percentage up to .398.
Gameday box score
Entering Monday, Dalbec had posted a 15.9 percent walk rate. He's never had one that high in any season. His strikeout rate, 27.6 percent, was as low as it has been since he debuted in the New York-Penn League in 2016.
Building on those trends is key for Dalbec, who possesses 60-grade power but has the tendency to swing and miss in bunches. In 100 games with Class A Advanced Salem last season, he belted 26 home runs and 27 doubles. His isolated power was .317. But he also struck out at a 37.1 percent clip.
The progress is showing this season. He's improved his patience and discipline at the plate and leads the Eastern League with 17 long balls and 50 walks. That, according to May, has all been part of Dalbec learning and evolving as he tries to figure out what kind of hitter he can be.
"His work ethic, the way he goes behind his business, his attention to detail and his self-awareness is mature beyond his time," the hitting coach said. "He has a good idea for what he wants to do. Sometimes it's more getting him to trust the work that he's done and not overanalyze things."
Next week, Dalbec will be rewarded with a spot in the Eastern League All-Star Game. But May has often preached to not chase results. To him, it's not about stats or awards or wins or a midsummer showcase. It's about a process that leads to The Show.
"Nobody knows or cares what Big Papi hit when he was in Double-A," May said of former Red Sox All-Star David Ortiz. "We're not trying to make you a Double-A All-Star. We're trying to make you a big leaguer."
No. 8 Red Sox prospect C.J. Chatham logged two hits and an RBI for the Sea Dogs. Duran added a pair of hits.
Fifth-ranked Tanner Houck allowed one unearned run on four hits in seven innings. The right-hander walked three and struck out four.