Mookie Betts was one of the top breakout prospects in the minor leagues last year, as the then-20-year-old posted a .923 OPS with 55 extra-base hits, 38 stolen bases and more walks (81) than strikeouts (57) in 127 games between both Class-A levels. That said, I don’t think anyone expected him to go out and do what he’s done this season.
Beginning the year at Double-A Portland, Betts, now 21, batted .355/.443/.551 with 27 extra-base hits, 56 runs, 22 steals and a 35-20 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 54 games before receiving a well-deserved promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket—his fourth full-season level in the last two years.
Since arriving at the more advanced level, Betts has reached base safely in all 22 games while batting .330/.422/.455 with six extra-base hits and a 13-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
More significantly, Betts now has played center field in 26 of his 38 games between both levels, 15 of which have come since his promotion to Pawtucket.
Betts’ increased playing time in the outfield suggests the Red Sox could be considering the 21-year-old as an option at the position this season, especially after Shane Victorino recently suffered a setback in his rehab. Either way, the kid has little left to prove in the minor leagues, and I think he’ll debut sooner than expected this season.