Mookie Betts is hot. In fact, Mookie Betts is the hottest player in the American League right now. The 22-year old rising star just received the AL Player of the Week award after an incredible seven days which saw him hit a remarkable .581/.594/1.000 with 2 home runs and 7 RBIs.
Betts’ first season hasn’t all gone so smoothly despite showing flashes of brilliance in literally every facet of his game at points. Although he’s played phenomenal defense in center field all season long, a position which he learned roughly a year ago, he has had his share of struggles at the plate. In fact, for the first two months of the season, Betts slashed only .246/.304/.389 with 5 home runs and 8 stolen bases.
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However, Betts has seemingly flipped a switch in June and is putting forth his best month as a major leaguer, hitting .375/.412/.656 with 3 homers and 3 steals. This has turned from a “don’t worry, he’s still young” scenario into a success story as he has upped his overall line to .277/.329/.453 alongside a 113 wRC+, indicating that he has created runs at a 13% higher rate than the league average. In fact, with his recent run of success, Betts has passed Dustin Pedroia and leads the Red Sox with 2.3 WAR.
Of course, Betts cannot keep hitting over .500 forever, but if he’s able to put his early-season struggles behind him for good, then he could potentially be Boston’s most valuable overall player in just his first full season. This isn’t entirely unanticipated as a number of projection systems predicted Betts to lead the Red Sox in WAR this season, but it’s still amazing to see such a young player work through such pronounced struggles in such a short period of time. Baseball is a game of constant adjustments and Betts will have to keep making them, but it’s encouraging to see him do it with such success and he appears to have a very bright future.