This was a long time coming. In one of the most anticipated moves in Red Sox Nation this year, Boston called up No. 5 prospect, Mookie Betts, Saturday morning.
Betts began the year as MLB’s No. 51 prospect, playing at double-A Portland. Betts, who turned 21 in October, played 54 games for the Sea Dogs, compiling an impressive .355/.443/.551 slash line, hitting six home runs and stealing 22 bases. He accrued 118 total bases and showed good plate discipline, walking 35 times while striking out just 21 times in 214 at-bats before his early June promotion to triple-A Pawtucket.
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Like the other youngster that has the Red Sox very excited this year (Brock Holt), Betts has transitioned from playing infield to patrolling the outfield. After beginning his career as a shortstop, Betts played second base for the majority of his minor league career before making the move to center field late in his double-A career. At triple-A, Betts played mostly center field and has been successful doing so. The speedster has been perfect in the field, putting out 26 batters in 26 chances in center.
The offensive output has not slowed down in Betts’ 23 games in Pawtucket, either. Betts is hitting a still solid .322/.425/.444 with two home runs and seven stolen bases.
The promotion to the big leagues is clearly not unwarranted, and Betts is expected to be an immediate spark to a Red Sox outfield that has struggled offensively outside of the aforementioned Holt.
Betts may not be an everyday player immediately (the corresponding roster move has not yet been announced), but given his athletic ability and strong numbers in the minors, plus the move to call him up this early in the season, expect the Red Sox to give him every opportunity to prove himself worthwhile of the promotion. As we approach trade season, don’t be surprised if the Red Sox begin aggressively shopping their other outfielders, including Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes.
When the season began, not many Red Sox fans should have expected an outfield that includes Brock Holt and Mookie Betts, but that day may be upon us. Based on the struggles of the team as a whole, fans will likely welcome the spark Betts is expected to bring.