Red Sox: Mookie Betts continues to be among baseball’s elite

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 05: Mookie Betts
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 05: Mookie Betts /

The Boston Red Sox have slowed down a little since their hot start, but Mookie Betts continues his tear among elite company.

As we are now a quarter of the way through the season, the Boston Red Sox are currently a 0.5 game behind the New York Yankees for the lead in the AL East, and also lead the MLB in wins with 29.

J.D. Martinez has been starting to get his power stroke going, hitting four home runs in the last week, giving Martinez 12 on the year, 36 RBI’s, and a line of .344/.395/.644. While Martinez has been a huge impact to this Red Sox start this season, Martinez has still only been the second best player on this team.

Markus Lynn Betts, known as Mookie by most, is having a breakout year. Mookie was quoted after his MVP Runner-up season in 2016 saying that he did not think he would ever be able to play better, but has proven himself wrong so far this season.

Below is a look at Mookie’s ridiculous numbers so far this year:

Mookie Betts 2018: 44R, 13 HR, 28 RBI’s, .353/.428/.733/1.161

Just for reference, Mookie’s 44 R’s, 13 HR’s, .353 BA, .733 SLG %, and 1.161 OPS all lead the MLB. That is five, FIVE, different categories in which Betts leads all other MLB players in. But what makes Mookie’s season more impressive is his peripheral statistics and what they say about what we can continue to expect out of Mr. Betts, and as a Red Sox fan, you need to get yourself excited.

Mookie not only leads in many categories with the basic triple slash line but also leads the MLB in many of other advanced statistics, keeping him in baseball’s most elite company. Below is a list of the MLB’s leaders in WAR (per FanGraphs), including some of my other favorite peripheral statistics that can tell us what to expect as we move forward.

Jose Ramirez: 3.1 WAR, .263 BABIP, .422 wOBA

Mookie Betts: 3.0 WAR, .336 BABIP, .478 wOBA

Mike Trout: 2.9 WAR, .314 BABIP, .440 wOBA

Francisco Lindor: 2.8 WAR, .339 BABIP, .416 wOBA

*WAR Explained

*BABIP Explained

*wOBA Explained

While looking at these peripheral statistics, Mookie’s season is evidently more impressive than his basic numbers suggest. According to WAR, Mookie has contributed to his team the second most of anyone in the league, leading to +3 more wins for the Red Sox compared if he were to be replaced by another available player. And in the company of names such as Jose Ramirez, Mike Trout, and Francisco Lindor, it seems that Mookie continues to play as one of baseball’s most elite players.

Mookie’s BABIP is what surprised me the most about his season thus far. His BABIP is currently sitting at .336, and a career average hovering right around .300 suggests that Mookie is not due for much regression as the season goes on.

A lot of the time, players with very high averages (such as a ridiculous average of .353 in Mookie’s case) tend to also carry a very high BABIP, showing that there has been luck involved in their performance. A very high season BABIP compared to a players career BABIP can show whether a player is due for regression throughout the season, and with Mookie’s being fairly close to his career BABIP shows that there is very little luck involved, and this is all Mookie.

Looking at wOBA, which measures a hitter’s overall offensive value to a team, Mookie is currently leading the lead, in turn showing that he has brought the most offensive value of any player thus far this season. To put this into perspective, Trout’s highest wOBA in his career was .437 last season, and Mookie’s is currently at .478. These are ridiculous statistics, showing how impressive Mookie has been compared to baseball’s best.

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What many seem to forget is that Betts is only 25 years old, a year younger than Trout and only 9 days older than Bryce Harper, two of baseball’s most talented players. Mookie has all the tools to be a superstar in this league, and it showed in his 2016 season. Now, Mookie is even further proving his place with his absurd, amazing, unbelievable start to the 2018 season.

Mookie is forcing his name into the talk of baseballs most elite players, but in order for him to be truly elite, he will have to replicate this performance throughout the season, as well as seasons to come.

Next: Red Sox vs Orioles Preview

As a Red Sox fan, I need Betts to be in a Sox jersey for the rest of his career and I needed it yesterday. Though Mookie may have been tentative with the Red Sox in negotiations before, something tells me that the Red Sox will be more than willing to pay him now. Expect Betts to be among baseball’s best for years to come, as we may be witnessing the beginning of that now.