In 2016, Boston Red Sox fans saw Mookie Betts take the baseball world by storm. Now, in 2018, the superstar right fielder is putting up better numbers, some of the most amazing stats anyone has ever seen.
It must be nice to be Mookie Betts. When the Boston Red Sox right fielder steps onto a baseball diamond, there isn’t anything he can’t do. He has more ability than any other player in the game today.
He can hit for average. Through 42 games, Betts has 60 hits in 163 plate appearances, good for a .368 batting average, tops in the MLB. Even more, only Nick Markakis, Jose Ramirez, Alex Bregman, Jose Peraza, and Andrelton Simmons have struck out at a lower rate than number 50.
But only one of those guys is within 30 points of Betts’ .368 clip.
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He can also hit for power. This season, he leagues the lead in home runs with 15. Mookie leads the MLB in doubles with 18. He leads the league in slugging percentage with a measly .767. Just for some comparison, he ranks ahead fellow stars Manny Macado, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge, and even his own teammate JD Martinez in all those categories.
And he can hit with runners on. Even while batting leadoff and coming up after Jackie Bradley Jr or Christian Vazquez in the lineup, Betts has managed 32 RBI. With runners on base (just 27 percent of his plate appearances) he is hitting .340/.407/.640 with 18 RBI. When runners are in scoring position (just 18 percent of his plate appearances) Betts is hitting even better with a slash line of .360/.455/.760 and 16 RBI.
Right in front of our eyes, Mookie Betts is becoming one of the best hitters the game has ever seen.
But it’s not just the hitting. He knows how to win on the basepaths.
On the year, he has 11 steals, just 2 caught stealings, and leads the league with 48 runs scored. Betts goes first to third and second to home on singles with ease. He is two steps ahead of every fielder, literally and figuratively.
On a team with some terrible baserunners (*cough, Andrew Benintendi, Eduardo Nunez, *cough), Betts can be counted on.
It doesn’t hurt that Betts reaches base more than anyone else in the league. His .439 on base percentage is yet another number that bests the MLB. When you watch Mookie stand at the plate, you can understand why. He might swing at one bad pitch per at-bat, but no more than that. He makes pitchers throw him that middle-in fastball. If they don’t he takes the walk. If they do, it’s over the Monster or another line drive into left or center.
A complete player
Finally, he can field, too. The two time gold glover is pretty much an automatic out in right field at Fenway.
At this point, Mookie Betts has mastered every bounce the ball could take off that crooked wall or every blade of grass that could alter the path to a fly ball. Countless times, Mookie has reached over the bullpen or the short wall in right to steal an extra base hit.
Add all this up and you get the best player in the MLB. Other than Mike Trout, no one can flaunt their success like Betts. Look at his baseball-reference page and tell me otherwise. On a new and improved 2018 Boston Red Sox team, Mookie is carrying the torch and treating the best baseball league in the world like Little League.
Sure there are others, J.D. Martinez is just what the doctor ordered at the plate, Chris Sale is still a great pitcher, but Mookie is the guy the fans are coming to see. Mookie Betts is the guy teams have to adjust their whole game plan around. He is the one opposing fans don’t want to see come up to bat with 2 on and 2 out in the 9th, out of the entire team or the league.
Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Bryce Harper, they can all move aside. It’s Mookie’s world, and we’re all living in it.