Anyone who has watched Mookie Betts play since his MLB debut in 2014 knows that he has the potential to be a special player. His speed in the field and on the bases, his defensive prowess, and his ability to handle a bat with very fast hands make him a star in the making. This season he has continued to improve and has quickly worked himself into serious consideration for AL MVP with just 6 weeks left in the season.
Betts has a .313 average with 26 HRs, 84 RBIs, 34 doubles, and 18 stolen bases (as of 8/16), which is incredible for a leadoff hitter (primarily). He ranks in the top 5 in the AL in batting average (2nd), doubles (2nd), triples (4th), runs scored (3rd), and slugging % (4th) and in the top 10 in stolen bases (6th), singles (9th), and HRs (10th). Not too shabby for a 5’9″ 180lb player in just his 2nd full year in the big-leagues.
To add to his offensive numbers, in 113 games played in the outfield, Betts has just 1 error (.996 fielding percentage) and 9 outfield assists. The most impressive thing regarding Betts’ defense? Until 2014, he had never played a professional inning in the outfield. Before being called up to the majors he had played just 45 games in centerfield in the minors in 2014.
If the season were to end now, I believe Mookie Betts would finish 2nd to Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros in the AL MVP voting. Altuve is having in other-worldly season, hitting .362 with 19 HRs and 73 RBIs so far and is deserving of the honor, but Betts is nipping at his heals. If Altuve’s average dips over the last 6 weeks of the season and Betts continues to put on a show, the AL MVP race could tighten quite a bit and Betts could find himself with some new hardware.