Sep 24, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielderMookie Betts
(50) at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
The 22-year-old, right-hander from Nashville, Tennessee made a big splash for himself with Boston, last season. Betts filled in for multiple veterans whom were injured throughout the year. He did the jobs so well, the Red Sox would need a huge offer to tear their grip off of him.
Offensively, Betts showed that he can hang with the big boys, hitting .291, with a .368 OBP and .444 SLG, in 189 at-bats. He showed his quickness by earning 15 doubles, a triple, and seven stolen bases, while crossing home plate 34 times in 52 games. His power and speed made him a man who was hard to take out of the lineup.
The same could be said for his defensive skills. Betts played center field, right field, and second base for the Red Sox. His sample-size was greater than Castillo’s 10 games, but he would still need at least 100 games to give his fielding numbers more weight. Betts’ fielding percentage was perfect in center field, where he made some incredible diving catches, while scoring .955 for both right field and second base. His range, however, was less than Castillo and the league average for center-fielders, scoring only 2.36. However, range factors in putouts and assists, so the situations that called for Betts to deliver may not have had as many opportunities as the rest of the league, including Castillo.
Both Betts and Castillo seem prime candidates for taking the starting center field position, and should be a great battle to see during spring training. Do the Red Sox pick Cuban potential, with his big contract, or do they pick youth, which is locked up with a small, rookie contract until 2018? The time and money suggest that it will be Castillo, but you never know.