The 2020 Red Sox season has been downright horrific, but there have been some bright spots: Martin Perez, Nathan Eovaldi, and Alex Verdugo have all shined at points in the shortened season. Xander Bogaerts is another player who has also outperformed expectations. But the two most notable, at least to this point, have been Bobby Dalbec and Phillips Valdez.
Phillips Valdez has been solid since the start of the season. The 28-year old right hander was signed in the offseason by the Red Sox after a brief stint with the Texas Rangers. He opened the season with a 0.90 ERA, but has slowly regressed to a still very respectable 3.04 ERA. Valdez has pitched 23.2 innings with 8 ER and a 9.1 SO/9. No one saw that coming and Valdez is quietly emerging as a top reliever in the MLB.
Phillips Valdez has been a pro baseball player since 2009, when he started his career in Rookie Ball with the Indians. Following a positive 2009 campaign, Valdez underperformed in 2010 before taking the 2011 season off. He went to the Nationals in 2012, and played Rookie ball there as well until 2014, where he got the call to Short Season A Ball (A-). His pitching continued to improve which led to a call up to Low A ball (A). Valdez continued to bounce around the minor league system from 2016-2018 before he was acquired by the Rangers in 2019. He was not all that productive in AAA for the Rangers, but he did pitch well in the majors with a 3.94 ERA in 16 IP. Despite a recent slump, Valdez has been a fantastic addition to the Red Sox bullpen in 2020.
Bobby Dalbec has started his big league career with 5 HRs in just nine games. He has also homered in four straight games. Tomorrow, he will attempt to extend his home run streak when the Red Sox take on the Rays in Tampa Bay.
Dalbec's path to the big leagues has been much less dramatic than Valdez's, but it was still an adventure for him. He's been with the Red Sox for his entire pro baseball career, which started in 2016. He put up absurd numbers playing in A- with the Lowell Spinners. He mainly played for the A Greenville Drive in 2017, and again showed his potential value. 2018 was mainly A+ with the Salem Red Sox , and a little bit of AA with the Portland Sea Dogs.
In 2019, Dalbec started in AA before being called up to AAA later in the year. He finally got his chance in the majors this year, and is so far showing that he's big league material. We'll see how the 25 year old finishes up. Can he stay hot for the rest of the season?