While my no. 10 prospect Manuel Margot may have opened the most eyes in terms of tools in the Boston Red Sox system, nobody in the system put up better numbers than Mookie Betts. 100 plate appearances into the season, Betts had a batting average of just .145 and looked like he was in for a long year, but then something changed.
Suddenly, Betts was as tough of an out as there was in all of minor league baseball. He put together a 19-game hitting streak and a 33-game on-base streak. He eventually earned a call-up from low-A to high-A, where he continued to rake. By the end of the season, he had a triple-slash line of .314/.417/.506. The 5-foot-9 second baseman also connected for 15 home runs and swiped 38 bases.
At the end of the season, the Red Sox were in need of figuring out if Betts was simply taking advantage of low minors pitching or if he could keep up his success against higher level talent, so they sent him to the Arizona Fall League. His batting average dipped, but he still hit a respectable .271 against a majority of double-A and triple-A pitchers.
He also proved his speed is for real, snagging eight bags in 16 games while also flashing flexibility in the field, playing multiple infield positions and playing them well.
The 2013 season will likely be the best statistical season of Betts’ career, but there is a good outlook for the rest of his career. He will probably kick off the season with a middle infield-rich double-A team that will probably also have Deven Marrero and Sean Coyle on the club. There is a chance Betts could start to get some time at short as his future role on the big league team will be as a utility infielder.
After he makes the big leagues, his performance will determine whether he is the heir apparent to Dustin Pedroia, or if he is just an average big league player. Regardless, the Red Sox’ Minor League Player of the Year comes in at no. 9 in my prospect countdown.