It starts with Mookie Betts, who led all major league players at any position with 32 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), while also leading the American League with 16 Total Zone fielding runs above average (Rtz). His 14 assists were second most among AL outfielders, as was his 23 Plus/Minus fielding runs above average (Rpm).
Betts committed only one error in 154 games for a .997 fielding percentage that ranks first among players with at least 100 starts in the outfield. His defensive metrics are comparable to any outfielder in the game, but Betts is in a tier alone at the top among AL right fielders, making him a virtual lock for a Gold Glove.
Not that he needs it to secure the award, but Betts should get bonus points for playing half his games at Fenway Park, where the quirky right field corners are notoriously difficult to handle.
When he’s making throws that shock other elite outfielders, you know he’s doing something right.
His glove is one of the five tools that make him one of the best all-around players in the game and potential front-runner for the MVP. Defense is part of what separates Betts from sluggers like
in the debate. Big Papi may be the best
, but Betts is the most valuable
due to the variety of ways he contributes at an elite level.
Betts has the talent and range to patrol center field, but he’s been pushed aside to the right because the Red Sox already have an elite center fielder.