By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Everybody may owe an apology to Bobby Dalbec.

He entered the season as a 25-year-old-rookie, penciled in to play out of position, for a team that wasn’t expected by many to contend for a playoff spot. He’s since become a 26-year-old power hitter who’s taken significant strides forward defensively while helping to keep the Red Sox very much alive in the hunt for a wild-card spot.

Considering that Dalbec struggled in the field (he primarily played third base throughout his minor league and collegiate career, only playing sporadically at first base), and considering he batted under .200 for a month-plus stretch in June and July, Dalbec caught quite a bit of heat from local fans and media for not being capable of contributing for a playoff team.

Since then, though, Dalbec has been on a special sort of roll.

He smashed an opposite-field solo home run on Tuesday night to tie the game in Seattle at 2-2, a game which the Red Sox would go on to win. It was Dalbec’s fourth home run in his last six games, and his seventh extra-base hit in his last eight games.

On the season, he’s now up to 22 home runs on the year, with 18 doubles, five triples, and a .786 OPS. Since Aug. 5, though, he’s been nothing short of incredible, batting .330 with 11 homers, six doubles, two triples, and 32 RBIs for a 1.177 OPS.

In doing so, he’s found himself joining some rather elite company with some of his accomplishments, all of which have been documented by the Twitter account, @SoxNotes.

The latest one was this:

But there have been many more. Most of them would surprise a lot of people — especially if those people stopped paying attention to Dalbec during his midsummer slump.

As you might expect, some of those hits were absolutely tattooed, as well:

It is, quite simply, an impressive turnaround for Dalbec, who’s become a steady presence in the lineup. It’s also a story in perseverance and a dedication to improvement, characteristics that are invaluable in a sport with 162-game seasons.

So while Dalbec may not quite reach the levels of Ted Williams or David Ortiz in his career, the fact that he’s found himself among some elite company for his production at this stage of his career provides a lot more promise than many would have anticipated or even believed at various points throughout the season, it’s worth shining a little light on as he continues to produce for a team that refuses to bow out from the fight for a playoff spot.