Mooke Betts began the 2015 regular season right where he left off in Spring Training—going 2 for 4, including a home run, an RBI and two runs scored in the Red Sox 8-0 shutout victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Betts led off the bottom of the third inning by lacing an 89 MPH first-pitch cutter from Cole Hamels over the left field fence, extending the Red Sox lead to 2-0 at the time. Betts is the youngest player to hit lead off on Opening Day for the Red Sox since Rico Petrocelli did the honors in 1965, according to ESPN.
The road to the show for Betts has been a long one, as the 22-year old Nashville, TN native began last season as the starting second baseman for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs against the Phillies (this time of Reading, PA), before transitioning to center field mid-season.
Betts started that 2014 campaign, one that saw him reach the majors for 55 games with the Red Sox, in a similar fashion to this year. In his first at bat Betts drilled a home run, finishing the day 4 for 4, with three runs scored an a RBI.
“He’s taken an uncommon path to get to this point when you consider last year at spring training he wasn’t even in major league camp and now he’s hitting leadoff in a whole different position,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told Jen McCaffrey of MassLive.com.
Even though the last 12 months or so have been a whirlwind for the young outfielder, Betts has remained humble and focused.
“It feels kind of normal now,” Betts said prior to his Opening Day start. “That I got to play last year, then the off season to think about it, and coming to big league spring training, it’s kind of normal now. I got used to it.”
“Everything starts from zero now—I’m not trying to roll anything over, I’m just trying to go out and continue to do whatever I do.”