Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mookie Betts enjoyed a solid 2013 season that has him climbing up prospect rankings across the board. The 21 year old has been unveiled as the third best second base prospect in the game, according to the prospect writers at MLB.com’s MLB Pipeline.
Here’s what they had to say about Betts:
"One of the breakout stars of 2013, Betts was one of nine Minor Leaguers to hit 15 home runs and steal 30 bases. His breakout was sparked by a better approach at the plate and improved pop in his bat. While his power surge was new, his speed was not. Betts is a plus runner, which translates into good range at second base."
Betts’ inclusion may seem surprising to some, particularly given some of the names he’s surrounded by on the list. Kolten Wong, Rougned Odor, and Arismendy Alcantara (numbers 1, 2, and 4 respectively on the Top 10) are all much more well known – and perhaps more highly sought after – commodities. Wong is the only one of the group who’s likely to see any substantial time in the Major Leagues in 2014.
Betts’ breakout season was split between Class-A Greenville and High-A Salem. He’d hit a combined .314/.417/.506 across 551 PA, adding 36 doubles to his 15 home runs and 38 stolen bases. Betts also walked 81 times on the year, compared to just 57 strikeouts. The production was a substantial improvement over his first full professional season in 2012 and a big step forward for the 2011 5th Round Draft pick.
Some questions do remain about where Betts will end up long term, simply due to the presence of Dustin Pedroia at second base for the foreseeable future. Betts’ athleticism suggests he might be able to handle shortstop or center field, but until the team needs to move him it should be safe to expect him to remain at second for the time being. Betts will likely reach Double-A for the first time in 2014 and won’t likely be ready to join the Red Sox in Boston for at least another two seasons.