Red Sox star Mookie Betts is a different hitter this season
Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts has a different approach at the plate this year, transforming him from a star into an MVP candidate.
Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts has had an MVP season, thanks in part to a few adjustments he’s made at the plate.
Betts batted .346 with 180 hits, 32 home runs, 80 RBI’s, 30 stolen bases and a 1.078 OPS in 520 at-bats.
He’s the first player since Jacoby Ellsbury to have a 30-30 season. Betts has been special as a leadoff hitter in the Red Sox lineup. Really different from a season ago when he had 166 hits, 24 home runs,102 RBI’s and 26 stolen bases. Betts played in 153 games last year which was more than this season. His batting average last season was .264. This season he only played in 136 and won both the MLB and American League batting titles.
Bett’s approach is different from a season ago. According to baseball savant, Mookie’s exit velocity went up from 88.4 in 2017 to 92.3 in 2018. His Barrel Percentage was 4.5% in 2017 while this season it went up to 14.1%. Betts’ launch angle also went up from 14.1 to 18.4. This shows he worked on something mechanically to improve his swing over the offseason and during spring training.
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What also helped Betts this season was manager Alex Cora, who put a younger and more vibrant voice in the clubhouse. Cora also wanted a different approach at the plate. Hunt the pitch rather than work the count.
Mookie’s hard-hit percentage this season was the highest in his career. Last season it was only 37.7% while this season it went up to 50.2%. Overall the in-depth numbers went up for Betts this season.
It also helps they have themselves a power hitter in J.D. Martinez who gives Betts advice on his swing, and also what he can work on. Betts told the FOX Broadcast during Saturday’s game against the Yankees that it has been great having Martinez on the team.
Expect to see the same in the postseason which begins Friday. His approach and timing have been great all season so it will be exciting to see it in the playoffs too. Betts was merely average during last year’s postseason. He batted .313 but also had four strikeouts zero home runs and zero RBI’s.
Against the other playoff teams, Betts is a better hitter this year than he was last year. In 2017, he batted just .213 with a .596 OPS, one home run and five RBI’s against the Yankees. Against the Oakland Athletics, he batted just.207 with two home runs, eight RBI’s, and an OPS of .798.
This season against the Yankees, his average went up to .415 with a 1.245 OPS, three home runs and 15 RBI’s. Against the Athletics, his average was .238 with zero home runs and just one RBI. Oakland wasn’t as big of an increase as New York was but his average still went up.
So if you’re watching the Yankees or Oakland game on Wednesday, I’d root for the Yankees so you can see Mookie Betts do damage to their pitching like he has all season.