Mookie Betts was an All-Star and also voted the American League MVP runner-up in 2016. But times have certainly changed drastically for this young right-fielder, and for the worse.
During last season’s high-profile campaign, Betts slashed a .318 batting average with 31 home runs, earning himself a prestigious Silver Slugging award for his position. His hard work in the outfield did not go unnoticed either as he found himself sitting high and pretty with a solid .997 fielding percentage over 361 defensive chances. Only one error was committed all season (July 4 vs. Texas). Those numbers were indeed good enough for him to earn a Gold Glove at his position.
Betts was an absolute force in 2016, there is no denying it.
With that being said, he has not seen nearly as much success as he did last year. This leads to a few questions. Was he a fluke? Also, could he be traded for someone equally as good, or even better, such as Trey Mancini of the Baltimore Orioles?
Thus far during the season, Betts has seen some regression in his overall numbers.
His batting average has seen a significant drop-off during his 2017 campaign. That number has seen a decline of .55 points down to a mediocre .263.
The decline in play hasn’t been just him alone, it’s also the case for Xander Bogaerts, Hanley Ramirez and Brock Holt.
Although his general all around average is not great, some of his clutch hitting statistics are truly things of beauty.
With Boston trailing in games, Betts has rallied up with a .298 average in 181 at-bats.
But wait, it gets better than that.
With two outs and runners in scoring position, Betts is batting a solid .385 and getting on base .484 percent of the time. That averages out to a .965 OPS.
Now let’s do a brief comparison of the statistics of the 25-year-old rookie, Trey Mancini. In 120 games, Mancini has been batting about .29 points higher than Betts, but is getting on base at just about the same percentage.
Previously noted were Betts’ numbers in the two-out with RISP spot, so it wouldn’t be fair to avoid Mancini’s. His numbers in that spot are near identical, until you reach the OPS category. Trey is totaling a 1.290 OPS, .325 points higher than Betts. This is due to his high velocity of doubles and home runs in that situation (four and four).
A trade between the two ball clubs could well become a reality as both players are only currently signed through the end of this year. Mancini is a utility outfielder, and a first baseman, so he could easily fill the role of Betts, and potentially play the infield if he ever needed to do such.
Let’s not forget, Betts, who is making $950,000, is elejiable for salary arbitration next this offseason and is not going to be a happy camper until he gets his long-term deal. Betts and the Red Sox were talking contract extention in January, but he wanted to take it year by year. He’s going to demand a lot, and there is no doubt he believes he’s worth more than the Red Sox think at this point. His value is not going up, that’s for sure.