The Boston Red Sox are without an ace and a lot of that has to do with everyday center fielder and leadoff hitter Mookie Betts. Betts was constantly wanted as the major piece in return in a trade for an ace, namely Philadelphia Phillies’ Cole Hamels. Betts has a very bright future in Boston, but is he as good as we think he is?
After hitting .291 in in 52 games played for Boston 2014, Betts was one of the brighter spots of the season and was also considered one of the top prospects in the organization.
Previously, Betts played second base for Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket, respectively. Being that franchise cornerstone Dustin Pedroia would be there for the foreseeable future, a change in position was only natural for Betts to fit in the equation.
The question was how he fit in the equation of 2015. With a big logjam of eight Major League outfielders on the team, many questioned if Betts would be playing every day or even at all in Boston.
A Rusney Castillo injury in spring training helped immensely and Betts never looked back. Hitting a staggering .429/.467/.750 slash line this past spring, Betts was arguably the Red Sox’ best player coming into the season.
After a solid first series in Philadelphia, Betts’s season sort of declined at the plate. Sure he was pretty solid defensively, but for someone at the top of the lineup not producing, it raised and still raises some questions. Recently, Betts has been on a tear hitting three home runs in two games against the Tampa Bay Rays.
In 87 at-bats in April, Betts hit a very below average .230. So far in the month of May, Betts is hitting .250 in 24 at-bats. Pretty average numbers. But can that continue? Or even improve? The main thing for younger players is consistency. We saw it all last season with supposed phenom Xander Bogaerts who looked like a phenom one game and a dud another.
So is Betts as good as we think? I think it’s too early to tell. That could be a big cop out of an answer, but he hasn’t even hit 100 career games with only 79. In those 79 games he has a career average of .270, a solid one for a 22-year-old.
The pressures of being an MLB player are greater than we can ever understand seeing as how most of us have been in that position. Yes, it’s a game, but it’s game that allows only the most privileged at their craft to compete in it.
Will he be the next great center fielder for the Red Sox? Time will tell. But if we do know one thing. Betts flashes great potential and if there is consistency, down the road the Red Sox will be glad they didn’t give up on him for a much needed ace.