Red Sox Rookie Bobby Dalbec Has Call of Duty To Thank for Tight Relationship With J.D. Martinez

J.D. Martinez is leaning towards not opting out of his current contract and remaining with the Red Sox for the 2021 season. The 33-year-old slugger made that much clear when speaking to reporters via Zoom on Friday.

While alluding to the notion that he will remain with the Sox next year, Martinez also had some kind words for a teammate who could emerge as a legitimate major-league slugger himself. That teammate’s name? Bobby Dalbec.

“He’s definitely got some tools,” Martinez said of the 25-year-old rookie. “He’s a really good kid, always asking questions, very humble, very quiet. He’s got a lot of power. I could see him being an impact [bat] in this lineup for the future, definitely sticking around.”

After making his big-league debut at the end of August, Dalbec came into Saturday with a .274/.361/.603 slash line to go along with seven home runs and 14 RBI through 21 games and 83 plate appearances thus far.

In those 83 plate appearances, the University of Arizona product has struck out 43.4% of the time, which according to FanGraphs is the highest rate among American League rookies who have accrued at least 80 trips to the plate. Getting that strikeout rate down is something Dalbec will need to improve upon as he prepares for his first full major-league season, and Martinez knows that.

“He’s going to have to make adjustments,” Martinez added. “I know he is, just because that’s the league. Once this league makes adjustments on you, that’s the biggest test, if the hitter can make the adjustment back. That’s when you find out, to me personally, if guys can stick around in the big leagues or not.”

Despite punching out at a rather high clip, Dalbec still manages to get on base frequently, as his walk rate (10.8%) and on-base percentage (.361) ranks fifth among AL rookies with 80 or more PAs this season.

“Talent-wise, I don’t see any reason why [Dalbec] can’t be an impact bat,” said Martinez. “You see what he’s been able to do in a short period of time.”

In his brief stint with Boston since his promotion on August 30, Dalbec has made sure to absorb as much useful information from veterans like Martinez, which is something he started doing while at Triple-A Pawtucket in 2019.

“We always talk,” Martinez said in regards to his relationship with Dalbec. “We got close because we used to play Call of Duty together. We used to play Zombies on Call of Duty all the time… and he’d always ask me questions while we played video games. Once he came up here, or even when he was in Triple-A, he would text me about stuff he was struggling with, certain pitchers, certain pitch types, he would talk to me. Up here, it’s been kind of the same thing. He comes to me about pitchers all the time and what I think about certain moves, what I think about certain ideas.”

If Martinez does indeed remain with the Red Sox going into the 2021 campaign, how he interacts with and/or mentors Dalbec certainly could be something to keep an eye on as soon as spring training begins in February.

Red Sox’ Eduardo Rodriguez Has Another Tough Night in ‘MLB The Show’ Players League

Four days after finally picking up his first MLB The Show Players League win this past Tuesday, Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez improved to 2-10 in league-play on Saturday after another 1-3 night.

Rodriguez was initially supposed to play on Friday and Saturday, but he was not available to play to kick off the weekend, so he will presumably have to make those games up at some point.

Regarding Saturday’s performance, the Venezuela native got his night started in disappointing fashion, as he blew a late 5-1 lead to the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter in what would turn out to be a whopping 11-5 defeat.

From there, Rodriguez’s interleague woes ensued in Philadelphia, as he was kept of the board by Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins in a 2-0 loss.

Fortunately, Rodriguez was able to rebound against another Pennsylvania-based club in the Pittsburgh Pirates, represented by shortstop Cole Tucker.

Using himself as the Sox’ starting pitcher for this contest, which was pretty fascinating to watch, Rodriguez yielded one run over one lone inning of work. An effort good enough to earn him his first winning decision of the season in an eventual 3-2 victory.

Finally, Rodriguez was held to just one hit in another shutout loss at the hands of Padres phenom Fernando Tatis Jr. Not much to say there.

All in all, the 27-year-old now owns a 2-10 record through 12 games played this season. With only 17 more games remaining before the postseason begins, Rodriguez certainly has his work cut out for him, which has already been mentioned on here before.

Rodriguez’s next set of games are scheduled to take place on Tuesday night, where he’ll take on the Rockies’ David Dahl, the Giants’ Hunter Pence, and the Yankees’ Tommy Kahnle. First pitch that day is scheduled for around 9 PM eastern time.

You can follow Rodriguez on Twitch here.

Red Sox’ Eduardo Rodriguez Picks up First ‘MLB The Show’ Players League Win

After starting the MLB The Show Players League season with four consecutive losses out of the gate last Friday, Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez picked up his first win of the year in the first game he played on Tuesday night.

Headed into his second round of games having yet to score a single run, Rodriguez was first matched up against former Sox pitching prospect Ty Buttrey, who was representing the Los Angeles Angels.

Three innings, which is the standard length of game in this league, was not enough to determine a winner, so the two hurlers headed into extras deadlocked in a scoreless tie.

It wasn’t until the top half of the fifth inning when Rodriguez finally got on the board. There, controlling Mitch Moreland, he took Angels reliever Justin Anderson deep to dead center to break the stalemate.

A few moments later, Rodriguez again went yard with another left-handed hitter, this time mashing a two-run no-doubter off Anderson with Rafael Devers.

That two-run blast put Rodriguez and the Sox up 3-0, and after giving one back in the bottom half of the fifth, Matt Barnes was able to hold on to pick up the save in a 3-1 victory.

Rodriguez was finally able to get in the win column, but unfortunately, the rest of his night did not go as well.

That being the case because in the game immediately following the win over the Angels, the 27-year-old choked away a six-run lead against Rangers star Joey Gallo and ultimately got walked off on in the bottom half of the third inning in what would turn out to be a devastating 7-6 defeat. Gallo is 8-0, by the way.

From there, Rodriguez’s woes continued in a pair of home losses to Braves reliever Luke Jackson and Marlins reliever Ryne Stanek.

A night that started with so much promise ended in somber disappointment, and at 1-7, Rodriguez currently sits at the bottom of the league standings.

The Venezuela native now has 21 games remaining on the season and has plenty of ground to make up. He’s scheduled to play again on Friday night, where he will take on the Mets’ Jeff McNeil, the Tigers’ Niko Goodrum, the White Sox’ Lucas Giolito, and the Mariners’ Carl Edwards Jr.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for around 9 PM eastern time. You can follow Rodriguez on Twitch here.

Red Sox’ Eduardo Rodriguez Celebrates MLB’s Opening Day at Home by Gaming

Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez was more than likely going to make his first career Opening Day start against the Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon. Instead, he, like the rest of Major League Baseball players, staff, and executives, is currently sitting at home in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that has pushed back the start of the 2020 season by several weeks.

That did not stop the soon-to-be-27-year-old from suiting up in full uniform though, as he took to social media to promote MLB’s ‘Opening Day at Home’ initiative that encouraged fans on Thursday to ‘feel a sense of community and unity on a day many were looking forward to, while underscoring the importance of staying home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.’

An avid gamer and streamer, Rodriguez posted a video of himself on Instagram and Twitter putting on a gaming headset and tossing a PS4 controller up and down like a baseball with the caption, “When you don’t want to get out of the routine but you only have video games #OpeningDay #StayatHome.”

Recently, Rodriguez has been streaming Fortnite online with Xander Bogaerts, Xander’s brother Jair, and former Red Sox outfielder Gorkys Hernandez.

You can follow Rodriguez on Twitch here. His PlayStation Network ID is ‘thegualo’, although he has yet to accept my friend request.

Bogaerts’ PSN ID is ‘thebogiestud2.’ He, too, has not accepted my friend request.

UPDATE: Rodriguez is now streaming online with Dustin Pedroia. You can watch that here.