The obvious favorite in any Red Sox team MVP discussion is Mookie Betts. He came close to league MVP in 2016 when analytics beat out common sense and Mike Trout walked off with the award. And that means Betts may again be in the running for the league award, but as far as the team then Betts has it all.
A legitimate five-tool player who excels on defense with a strong and accurate arm playing one of the most difficult right fields every devised. How good is he? For me, he now exceeds even Dwight Evans. Gold Glove or metrics Betts is in a realm defensively where everyone else vies for second place. Then there is his offense.
In 2017 Betts had an “off” year hitting just .264 but other aspects of his offense showed minimal erosion from what will be become his standard – 2016. Betts still drove in over triple digits (102 RBI) and scored 101 runs. And the speed? Betts swiped 26 in just 29 attempts. Expect a 30/30 in 2018 with a fundamental sounder offense top to bottom.
Betts has focused on his aggressiveness at the plate, but what stands out is his 77 walks against just 79 strikeouts in 2017. Betts makes contact and contact offer opportunity. Betts had a bWAR of 6.4 and that will most certainly move up. Expect big things for the offensive catalyst of the Red Sox.