Mookie Betts is arguably the best hitter in baseball right now. He is seeing the ball so well and smoking it. He massacred the Yankees’ pitching staff, raking in a grand slam in a 14-1 win. Mookie is also off the heels of a four home run series against the Angels. The man is insane.
Betts currently leads the MLB in AVG (.366). Obviously this won’t be sustainable for an entire season, but it’s a damn good start. Consequently, it could be a sign of even better things to come for Betts. Mookie is doing damage early, and if he can continue, the Red Sox are going to be very dangerous this season.
2017 was a very disappointing season for Betts. He had a steady offensive decline coming off of an insane MVP caliber year in 2016. Many fans put the blame on the absence of David Ortiz, which put the pressure on Betts to carry the offense.
He was also flip-flopped in the batting order a few times by former manager John Farrell, which could have affected his thought process throughout the season. It’s more difficult to hit if you aren’t sure whether you’d be hitting leadoff, or batting cleanup.
Having a rough 2017 was obviously something that Mookie did not want to do, but the silver-lining is that it was a wake-up call. He needed to get better and make adjustments.
THE ALEX CORA EFFECT
Earlier, I mentioned how Farrell had swapped Mookie around throughout the 2017 season. That’s something that Alex Cora is not all about. From the time he was hired as the Sox manager, he has made Betts’ position in the batting order clear.
Betts knowing every day that he will be batting leadoff is a very overlooked thing. This allows him to go up to the plate with the same thought process each game and just try to do his part. Although he has the ability to hit home runs, it is important for him to get on base early and use his speed to score.
Alex Cora is known for his communication with younger players, as he was the bench coach for the Astros. The presence of Cora will pay dividends for Betts, as we have already seen from Xander Bogaerts this season.
None other than David Ortiz. Of course it was the “Large Father”, as Betts likes to call him, to point out mechanical issues he noticed with Betts in 2017.
Betts said in Spring Training they sat down, and Ortiz pointed out that his stride was off, causing his stance to be too open. It’s hard to say that was the sole reason for the tough time that Betts had last year.
The start that Mookie Betts is having in 2018 is no fluke. This kid is the real deal. He is a true five-tool player, and there is no ceiling for him. He’s just getting started, and I don’t think there’s anything the rest of the league can do about it.