Dodgers' Mookie Betts Describes His Play as 'Bad' After Slow Start to Season

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 6, 2021

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts stands on the field during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Saturday, July 3, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
AP Photo/Nick Wass

Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts doesn't believe he's been performing up to expectations during the 2021 MLB season.

Betts described his play last year as "serviceable" before giving a more harsh assessment of how he's done so far this campaign.

"Bad," he told reporters. "This would be bad. I'm trying to turn it around and get this rolling."

The 28-year-old was just named as a reserve to his fifth All-Star Game. Through 73 games, he has 10 home runs, 31 RBI and a .247/.360/.452 slash line. His version of "bad' equates to ranking 16th in WAR among National League position players (2.2), per FanGraphs.

Betts' word choice regarding last year is perhaps more telling in how he characterized 2021. Winning a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and finishing runner-up in the Most Valuable Player voting would be a career year for a lot of players, but it was just "serviceable" for the Dodgers right fielder.

When you've already won an MVP and made a case for yourself as the second-best hitter in baseball behind Mike Trout, anything short of that can apparently feel underwhelming.

According to Betts, he has a .269 batting average on balls in play, which is only narrowly higher than his career low (.268), per FanGraphs. Getting a little more luck his way could have a corresponding effect on his numbers.

At 53-32, the Dodgers are 0.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants and own the third-best record in baseball. Baseball Prospectus gives them the best chance (20.5 percent) of winning the World Series. 

Even if Betts continues to be "bad," L.A. should remain in a strong position to make a fourth Fall Classic in five seasons.