Who knows if Mookie Betts will win American League MVP, but it’s impossible to argue his value for the Boston Red Sox.
Betts has been on quite the hot streak of late, as he’s hit five home runs in the last three games, including two in Tuesday’s 5-3 win against the Baltimore Orioles.Â The Red Sox right fielder also has aÂ slash line of .390/.419/.847 with seven home runs and 20 RBIsÂ in 59 at-bats in August, and he’s now hitting .315 on the season with 28 home runs (the most on the team) and 89 RBIs.
Betts’ offensive output was so good that he was moved from his usual leadoff spot to No. 3 in the order, and he since has switched places with David Ortiz at the cleanup spot.
That’s a lot of changes for a 23-year-old to go through, but his performance at the plate only is getting better.
“We talk so much about young players moving around the lineup, he has not changed his approach in the four-hole, doesn’t take on any added significance to the role or the spot in the lineup,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters, as aired on NESN’s “Red Sox Extra Innings.” “He’s in some kind of spot right now the way he’s seeing the baseball.”
And one of the teams he sees the baseball the best against is the Baltimore Orioles.
Betts’ two homers Tuesday upped his season total to seven at Camden Yards, which ESPN Stats & Info reports is the most in a season by a visiting player there ever. Boston now has played five games in Baltimore in 2016, and Betts is 10-for-21 with those seven home runs and 13 RBIs.
“I think the one thing you can state is, we talked about it before the game, he feels comfortable in this ballpark,” Farrell said. “Obviously he sees the ball well, and particularly that two-run home run off of (Brad) Brach, who’s had an outstanding year to date with premium type stuff, and in a big moment a big two-run home run to give us the lead once again.”
Perhaps it’s more of just an Orioles thing, though, as Betts is hitting .426 with eight home runs, 17 RBIs and 16 runs against Baltimore this season overall.
But the opponent and ballpark really haven’t mattered that much, as evidenced by his overall numbers. He’s just plain good. Period. End of story.
Talk of Betts being in the race for AL MVP hasÂ heated up as his bat does, and there’s certainly a strong case to be made for him. He has the third-best WAR (wins above replacement) in the league at 6.57, and the only two players he trails (Mike Trout and Jose Altuve), arguably are the two favorites to win the award.
If he keeps hitting like this, not only will the Gatorade showers continue, but so will the MVP discussions — whether he’s playing in Camden Yards or not.
Thumbnail photo viaÂ Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Images