Boston’s Bobby Dalbec, right, watches the flight of his home run against Toronto on Sept. 6. Steven Senne/Associated Press

In Portland, when Bobby Dalbec made solid contact, the sound reverberated through Hadlock Field, followed by gasps at how quickly the ball left the park.

Dalbec hit 20 home runs for the Sea Dogs last year (and seven more for Triple-A Pawtucket).

Now he’s bashing in the majors, becoming the first player to enjoy a five-game home run streak in his first 10 games in the big leagues. One home run had an exit velocity of 106 mph.

His first major league hit was a homer – followed by an 0-for-14 skid with nine strikeouts – followed by the home run streak.

“Bobby’s power has been on display,” shortstop Xander Bogaerts said last week during a pre-game Zoom press conference. “Since he’s been coming up, I’ve been hearing a lot about his power.”

Bogaerts then offered words of caution.

“He obviously started off good. Had a couple rough games. But I told him, ‘This is the big leagues, man. This is hard.’ … It’s a learning lesson, especially in his position. He’s young. Pitchers are going to adjust. You’ve got to adjust back.”

Through 11 games (39 at-bats), Dalbec is batting .282 with six home runs and a 1.118 OPS. He has struck out 20 times. Strikeouts were a concern in the minors, but Dalbec lowered his total last year (136), from the 179 in 2018.

There is plenty of promise … but also a reminder of the small sample size.

Last year, in his first 14 games (48 at-bats), Michael Chavis hit six home runs, batting .354/1.247. He struck out 14 times. Pitchers make adjustments. This year, Chavis has hit two home runs in 30 games, batting .228/.622 (41 strikeouts in 101 at-bats). Chavis is 25 and, of course, can turn it around. But, as Bogaerts said, “this is hard.”

THE YANKEES began this abbreviated season with an 8-1 record, and then 16-6. It appeared they were going to dominate their 60-game schedule.

But the Yankees stumbled over their next 20 games – the equivalent of a third of the season – going 5-15 and barely holding on for the final playoff spot with a 21-21 record. Injuries to Aaron Judge (calf) and Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) took a lot of boom out of the lineup.

New York has picked it up with a four-game winning streak, but can’t afford another skid. As bad as the Red Sox season has been, at least there were low expectations. The Yankees looked like juggernauts and a collapse would not go over well in New York.

THE FINAL season in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, never happened because of COVID-19, and another Sox affiliate may also be gone without saying goodbye.

The Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox will move to Worcester, Massachusetts next season. Pawtucket’s McCoy Stadium has been the Red Sox alternative training site this year, but without fans. Now McCoy’s future is a question mark.

The short-season Lowell Spinners’ team is not moving, but Major League Baseball has proposed an end to short-season leagues. If the proposal goes through, Lowell may have to join an independent league.

MINOR LEAGUE Baseball is in for big changes, as it appears that MLB is poised to take it over. Last week, Minor League Baseball President and CEO Pat O’Conner unexpectedly announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31. Last December, O’Connor was re-elected for another four-year term.

No successor has been named because their likely won’t be one. MLB, which wants fewer minor league teams (saving money), is likely to assume control of the organization.


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