It’s no secret Mookie Betts is an offensive threat, belting 32 home runs and 80 RBIs during the 2018 Major League Baseball season.
But the Boston Red Sox outfielder also is a menace to batters when he’s manning right field.
Betts has made some incredible catches over the years, including one Saturday against the Seattle Mariners to take away a hit. There’s no denying he’s one of the best players currently playing the game, but just where exactly does he rank amongst other MLB players?
The Athletic compiled a list of the top 10 defensive players, and ranked the 26-year-old in the third spot behind the Oakland Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman and Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons.
Here’s their reasoning:
Betts has led right fielders in DRS (defensive runs saved) in each of the last three seasons and for good reason. He catches anything, anywhere.
In 2016, he led all players at the position in getting more outs than average on balls hit to the deepest part of right field. Then in 2017, he led in that stat on balls hit to the shallowest part of right field.
In 2018, he was close to equally as good at both in his MVP season.
But there’s plenty more to Betts’ game. His arm has saved five runs in the last three seasons. And he has five home-run-robbing catches, which were worth another seven runs saved.
Betts also avoids mistakes. In the last three seasons, our video scouts have dinged him only three times for bobbling a ball after a base hit. The average fielder, given Betts’ playing time, would have had a dozen such miscues. That by itself is worth four runs.
Put it all together and you get a total package. Betts has won three straight Fielding Bible Awards. And he nets the No. 3 spot on our Top 10 list.
We won’t argue with any of that.
Betts is entering the 2019 campaign fresh off his third Gold Glove Award. And if his numbers mirror or improve what, batters will be heading back to the dugout disappointed.
Thumbnail photo via Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports Images