All Mookie Betts does is hit. Oh, and he can steal some bases too. He is exactly what the Boston Red Sox lineup needs, the spark that has been missing ever since Jacoby Ellsbury wasn’t re-signed. Betts, 21, was recently promoted to Triple-A after hitting .355/.443/.551 with six home runs, 34 RBI, 35 walks, 18 doubles, three triples and only 20 strikeouts in 214 at-bats. Oh, did I mention he can steal some bases? He was leading the Eastern League with 22 steals at the time of his promotion.
The Red Sox offense could use a shot in the arm and Betts might be just what the doctor ordered. Since his promotion, Betts has hit .302/.389/.460 with two homers. He still needs a little polish and time to adjust at Triple-A but the second baseman should get a shot to make his Major League debut this year.
Of course, the one caveat is that Dustin Pedroia is the everyday second baseman for the Red Sox so Betts might have to be moved to the outfield permanently where his speed would be a much greater asset to the Red Sox.
The Red Sox rank 23rd in runs with 280 and 25th in batting average with a .243 mark. Their on-base percentage ranks 11th at .321 and their slugging percentage is a paltry .370, good enough for 26th best in baseball. The Red Sox outfield consists of Brock Holt, Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Daniel Nava at the moment. Even if Shane Victorino were healthy it isn’t like he was lighting the world on fire. The fact is, of the Red Sox’s current outfield, only Holt is hitting above .210 and Holt only has 159 at-bats. The Grady Sizemore experiment worked for about one week and came to an end with his being designated for assignment recently. Can the Red Sox rely on an outfield of Holt, Bradley, Nava, Victorino and Jonny Gomes? Is that what they are supposed to defend their World Series title with?
One can understand the Red Sox not wanting to rush Betts. However, if he proves himself over the next couple of weeks at Triple-A Pawtucket then there is no reason why they shouldn’t give Betts a chance. They have already begun prepping Betts with time at shortstop and in the outfield so perhaps the Red Sox have already put this plan in motion.
The real question is, how long can they wait before they bring him up? The Red Sox are already five games under .500 but they aren’t far out of the race, sitting just seven games out of first place in the AL East. The Red Sox are in a bit of a dilemma as they don’t want to rush Betts before he is ready while at the same time needing his bat and energy in the lineup.