Mookie Betts incredible 2018 campaign was capped off in style last Thursday when the Boston Red Sox star outfielder was named American League MVP.
Betts’ feats over the past year were honoured by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, who named him baseball’s Most Valuable Player after the 25-year-old received 28 of a possible 30 first-place votes.
Mookie (born Markus Lynn) became the 11th Red Sox player to win the award, joining an illustrious list that includes Dustin Pedroia (2008), Mo Vaughn (1995), Roger Clemens (1986), Jim Rice (1978), Fred Lynn (1975), Carl Yastrzemski (1967), Jackie Jensen (1958), Ted Williams (1946 and 1949), Jimmie Foxx (1938) and Tris Speaker (1912).
In winning the MVP award, Betts also made history as the first American League player to ever win the World Series, the Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, the batting title and Most Valuable Player in a single season. Betts became only the second man in Major League Baseball history to record the feat also, with the only National League player ever to collect all those awards in the same season being Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt, with his achievements in 1980 for the Phillies.
All of this in the same year that Betts’ wife Brianna gave birth to their first child; a baby daughter born in early November.
During this season, Betts hit .346 with 32 home runs, 80 RBIs, 129 runs scored and 30 stolen bases while slugging .640 and generating a 1.078 OPS. The fact that he led the Red Sox to the 2018 World Series title in an MVP winning season in the process may not only make him the best player in the league this season, but one of the best of all time to grace Fenway Park.
Betts versatility is outstanding. From right field, he has made throws that have to be seen to be believed. There have also been many occasions when he has charged toward the line or chased down a ball, looking for a force on the bases. And he can also jump. Remember how his glove ended up over the right-field wall at Minute Maid Park in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series?
Whether Betts can go on to receive similar acclaim to that of Babe Ruth – baseball’s favorite son – remains to be seen. Much of that will depend on how he, and the Red Sox, fare next year, but with Betts in the line up then even with the Red Sox at +650 favourites with sites like Gambler Saloon to win the 2019 World Series, they look like a good value bet.