David Ortiz has taken Mookie Betts under his wing since the latter debuted with the Boston Red Sox in 2014. And as far as Big Papi is concerned, the sky is the limit for the 23-year-old outfielder.
Betts dazzled Tuesday in the Red Sox’s Opening Day win over the Cleveland Indians, drilling a two-run homer off 2014 Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and making a sensational leaping catch in right field to save a run. The performance simply could be a precursor of what’s to come from Betts, who has the potential to be the face of the franchise once Ortiz rides off into the sunset after this season.
“Superstar, man. Superstar,” Ortiz told reporters in Cleveland when asked about Betts after Boston’s 6-2 season-opening victory. “He’s got that swag. He’s got what the game needs right now, you know what I’m saying?
“You just have to let that kid play and enjoy. You don’t see that every day. That’s him. He doesn’t surprise me at all anymore. He’s always out there doing things. Super athletic. Happy to have him here as always and he’s enjoyable to watch.”
Betts is coming off a 2015 season in which he hit .291 with 18 home runs, 77 RBIs, 21 stolen bases and an .820 OPS in 145 games. According to FanGraphs, he led the team in WAR with a mark of 4.8, suggesting he already is Boston’s best all-around player. Soon, it might not be debatable.
Betts is on the fast track to stardom. Superstardom. Just ask Big Papi.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images