Mookie Betts Continues to Impress with Inside-the-Park Home Run

mookie betts

Another day at the ballpark, another headline for Mookie Betts.

Betts continued his remarkable Spring Training run on last Sunday afternoon (March 22nd) against the Philadelphia Phillies at JetBlue Park in Ft. Myers, FL. The 22-year old infielder-turned-outfielder put up yet another multi-hit performance, going 2 for 2 with a RBI.

In 11 Grapefruit League games, Betts is hitting .471/.471/.853 good for an astounding 1.324 OPS, with nine extra-base hits and two RBIs.Mookie Betts

One of his more memorable Spring Training moments came Sunday afternoon when Betts launched a ball to deep center field, and was able to come all the way around the bases on an inside-the-park home run as Phillies’ center fielder Odubel Herrera struggled to locate the ball after attempting to catch it over his shoulder.

“I just thought it was going to be a double,” Betts shared with BostonGlobe.com. “When I was getting close to second I figured I might as well go three. When I was going three, Butter had the decision to send me home. I kind of went with the flow.”

With a good mix of power and speed, Red Sox’ manager John Farrell sounds more than confident having Betts hitting lead off come Opening Day.

“He’s obviously driving the ball consistently. He gives you a threat even as the game begins,” Farrell told the Globe. “He’s an exciting player. He’s always on time hitting-wise. He’s equipped to hit different types or pitches from righthanders and lefthanders.”

Betts is even receiving praise from some of his veteran teammates, such as left fielder Hanley Ramirez.

“He’s been doing well with the communication, moving me around. I like that, a young guy taking charge,” he told BostonGlobe.com

“He reminds me of myself in [2006] in Miami,” Ramirez told NJ.com.

With the spring performance he has put up so far, along with the high praise from his coaches and teammates alike, 2015 is shaping up to be a break out campaign for the Nashville, TN native, Mookie Betts.

The Untouchable Mookie Betts

mookie betts

In recent months, we’ve heard a lot about the so-called contest between Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo to be the Red Sox’ starting center fielder. I appreciate the talent of both players, and I respect the heavy stake placed in Castillo by the Boston front office. But, quite frankly, I don’t see a fair comparison between these guys. In my mind, Betts is clearly the better player at present and, moving forward, has a much brighter future. Accordingly, as the Red Sox embrace youth, Mookie Betts should be the poster boy, standing front and center. Ultimately, he should be untouchable.Mookie Betts

I love Betts’ energy and agility. Like all great ballplayers, he is always so alert and alive on the field, proactively pushing the envelope and making things happen. Betts has the kind of mercurial instinct and youthful exuberance that sets the tone on a ballclub, providing it with life and animation. He’s just a fun guy to have around.

At the plate, Betts reminds me of a young Dustin Pedroia; both players compensating for a lack of height and bulk by mastering a lyrical swing that emits one rasping line drive after another, hammering ball after ball into the gaps and off the walls. Betts has such good timing, and the ball jumps so aggressively off his bat, that he’s become something of an extra-base hit machine, firing doubles and triples into the outfield and igniting panic among opposing teams.

This spring, Mookie has been fantastic, showing real growth and development before our eyes. Every day, he becomes more accustomed to the leadoff spot, showing an increased appreciation for his role as an on-base instigator, whilst his play in center field continues to improve handsomely. Through eight Grapefruit League games, Betts has 12 hits, including 4 doubles and 2 triples, good for a .462 average and a startling 1.231 OPS. Admittedly, this is a very small sample size, but the guy just has a tremendous feel for the game. He’s ready to take the Major Leagues by storm.

Of course, you’d like to see Betts draw a few more walks, and use his game-altering speed to more devastating effect on the bases, but those facets of his game will develop naturally with experience. Mookie has a precocious array of skills and, throughout his professional career, they have been honed with an abundance of game time. The more Betts plays, the better he becomes, which is why the Sox must give him the starting job he has earned, and allow him to continue building from his impressive opening salvo last year.

Aged 22 and cost-controlled until 2021, Mookie Betts is, in my opinion, the definitive nucleus around which this new-age Red Sox team should be built. In the next few years, he will grow into a brilliantly dynamic Major League player, before maturing into a perennial All-Star. Accordingly, for Boston, it makes zero sense to have him play the next season or so in Pawtucket; nor to trade him away and watch as he becomes an elite performer someplace else. Mookie Betts is the present and the future. He, surely, is untouchable.

Mookie Betts’ Attitude As Good As His Play

mookie betts

As each Spring Training game passes, Mookie Betts is leaving little doubt in anyone’s mind that he should be the Red Sox’ starting center fielder come April 6th.

Betts contributed another impressive performance on Monday, going 2-3 with a double, triple, and a run scored against the New York Mets at JetBlue Park in Ft. Myers, FLMookie Betts. In seven Spring Training games thus far, Betts is hitting an astounding .435/.435/.739, good for a 1.174 OPS.

Equally as impressive as his on-the-field performance, has been his attitude and the way he conducts himself off of it.

Betts began last season on a hot streak as the Portland Sea Dogs’ second baseman, but with the Red Sox middle infield seemingly full for years to come, the Red Sox had Betts begin to transition to center field, where they could take advantage of his immense talent.

“It’s had its ups and downs,” Betts said in an interview with Ron Borges of BostonHerald.com. “It definitely hasn’t been as easy as I thought. You’ve got a lot of ground to cover and you have to move around with each hitter and with different counts. There’s so much involved getting ready for each pitch.”

“When the first fly came out it was like ‘Oh bleep.’ That’s pretty much exactly how I felt. But after I got the first couple under my belt I felt comfortable.”

Although the transition has not come without its difficulties, Betts seems willing to do whatever it takes to earn a spot on the big league roster.

“The only thing I can do now is fulfill what they need,” Betts shared with Borges. “I 100 percent look at it like they think I’m a good enough athlete to do it, not like they don’t think I can play the infield. Plus, we got a guy at second base who’s pretty good so I couldn’t play there.”

“My dream wasn’t to play second base. The dream is to make it to the big leagues. I can’t say it didn’t happen as I wanted because I’m in the big leagues.”

With an incredible amount of talent and potential on-the-field, and the maturity and wisdom that makes him seem wise beyond his years, Mookie Betts seems ready to take the MLB by storm. If his spring is any indication of what’s to come for the 22-year old Nashville, TN native, we might be seeing a perennial All-Star at Fenway Park for years to come.

Mookie Betts Looks Poised to Take Over Lead Off Role

mookie betts

It hasn’t taken long for Mookie Betts to go from top infield prospect, to major league outfielder and potential lead off hitter for the Boston Red Sox.

In 52 games with the big league club in 2014, Betts impressed many while hitting .291/.368/.444 with 18 extra base hits, 18 RBIs and 21 walks compared to just 31 strikeouts.

So far this spring, the story has been much of the same.

Betts contributed a hit and a RBI in Boston’s 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday, and so far is hitting .273/.273/.444 with an RBI and two runs scored in thMookie Bettsree games this spring. He has also looked good in center field—a position that was totally foreign to him not even one season ago.

“It speaks more to some genuine and natural confidence,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell in an interview with CSNNE.com. “He’s an inquisitive person, so he asks a lot of questions and he’s not afraid that he comes across as not knowing something. He wants to know what a certain game situation would cause him to do and he works through it. He’s one of those guys who asks a question once, you give him an answer and that question doesn’t come up anymore. I think it speaks to how smart he is.”

When Farrell was asked by CSNNE’s Sean McAdam about Betts’ ability to hit from the lead off spot in the order, he seemed more than confident in the 22-year old Nashville, TN native.

“He looks pretty comfortable,” Farrell stated. “When you get on base two or three times per game (it helps). It’s a spot that he’s been most comfortable in, and hit out of. He profiles that spot very well,” he stated.

Although it has been rumored that Betts will compete for the center field job with Rusney Castillo during camp, early injuries to both Castillo and Shane Victorino seem to indicate that there’s a good chance Betts will make the Opening Day roster.

The Red Sox saw first hand in 2014 how the lack of a lead off hitter can effect an offense’s production, and if Mookie Betts can continue to provide contributions from that spot in the lineup, he should see plenty of playing time in Boston this season.