With (Another) Three-Home Run Game, Mookie Betts Is MVP Contender (Again)

Mookie Betts: still good. Very good, in fact. Some might even say elite.

The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder got off to a relatively slow start, by his understandably lofty standards. In his first seven games with his new team, Betts hit just .206 (7-for-34) with no home runs and only a pair of doubles. He also missed a game with a dinged-up-finger injury.

Again, it’s all relative, but in the last week or so, Betts looks exactly like the player who won the 2018 American League MVP with the Boston Red Sox, and that was no clearer than Thursday night when the outfielder hit three home runs in a game for the sixth time in his career. Six!

“I know he hits homers, but it’s more power than I expected,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters after the game, per The Associated Press.

After that “slow” seven-game start, Betts has caught fire, hitting .421 (16-for-38) with seven home runs and 12 RBIs. He’s increased his batting average by 113 points and the seven dingers are good for fourth in all of baseball behind Aaron Judge, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Mike Trout.

Betts’ 1.3 wins above replacement (Fangraphs) is good for third in all of baseball, helped in large part by more stellar defensive play.

The superstar also has pitched in as needed, hitting leadoff for the Dodgers in a few games. LA is now 5-1 in those games, outscoring its opponents 35-10 in those games, powered by Betts’ 1.517 OPS in those games.

“He’s just very unselfish,” Roberts told reporters.

Unsurprisingly, the loaded Dodgers have found their groove. LA is now 13-7 with an MLB-best plus-51 run differential through a third of the season.

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