MLB: 5 American League East prospects to watch for in 2020

SURPRISE, AZ - OCTOBER 18: Nate Pearson #20 of the Surprise Saguaros and Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the 2018 Arizona Fall League on October 18, 2018 at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
SURPRISE, AZ - OCTOBER 18: Nate Pearson #20 of the Surprise Saguaros and Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the 2018 Arizona Fall League on October 18, 2018 at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Bobby Dalbec has recovered from COVID-19 and is ready to make his MLB debut with the Boston Red Sox.

It’s tough to look at the Boston Red Sox and the American League East and try and figure out where exactly this team fits. Are they a contender? Or should they continue moving pieces and begin a rebuild? If the pitching staff can pull something impressive off, Boston has the lineup to compete and they have a power-hitting prospect waiting in the wings who could provide a an offensive boost.

After contracting COVID-19, Bobby Dalbec has only recently returned to Red Sox camp, so a spot on the Opening Day 30-man roster may not happen, but Dalbec won’t be at Boston’s alternate sight for very long.

Dalbec’s ability to fill in at first and third base will call him into action should the injury bug bite this year and his powerful bat could be a game-changer if Boston finds themselves in the playoff picture later this summer.

In 135 games last season at the Double-A and Triple-A level, Dalbec hit just .239 but did compile 27 home runs and posted a .356 on-base percentage. He has a career .362 OBP since Boston used a fourth-round pick on him back in 2016 out of Arizona.

Dalbec currently ranks as the third-best prospect in Boston’s farm system behind infielders Jeter Downs (#1) and Triston Casas (#2).

Also, keep an eye out for RHP Tanner Houck. Houck reached AAA last season, working effectively as a reliever with his sinker/slider combo. However, Houck is still a rotation candidate for the Red Sox and if he can repeat his delivery and refine his changeup and/or curveball, Houck may have an opportunity to break into the rotation sooner rather than later.