Mookie Betts Is a Pretty Good All-Star Game Replacement for Mike Trout
Perhaps the biggest bummer experienced by baseball fans so far this summer was the thumb injury that shelved the best player in baseball, Mike Trout, who was in the midst of a typical Troutian season. Even with Aaron Judge going on his kill crazy offensive rampage, Trout was still the leader in Wins Above Replacement and appeared to be steaming toward a third MVP award.
But that was all torpedoed when Trout slid head-first into second base. And although he is getting closer to returning to action, and despite being voted into the MLB All Star Game as a starter next week, Trout announced he will not be able to participate in the festivities.
Betts' 2017 season has been overshadowed by the incredible campaigns being put together by some others, including Judge, but Boston's star man has been nothing short of fantastic. In fact, in a few areas of his game, he's putting up career-best numbers.
Those offensive numbers are pretty spectacular, and as he piles up the counting stats, note that he's also dramatically improved his walk and strikeout rates from a year ago. He's also got 15 stolen bases which, here at the exact halfway point of the season, points him on pace to become baseball's first 30-30 player (30 homers and 30 steals) since Trout and Ryan Braun did it in 2012.
But Betts' value lies in his all-around game, too. That includes additional baserunning metrics and defense.
More Mookie Betts numbers: He has 43 XBH, 41 walks, 30 strikeouts; 8th in base running metric; Top 5 arm: https://t.co/SDneEw5Jc4
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 4, 2017
He currently leads all MLB players in Defensive Runs Saved (17), and Betts was named American League Player of the Week last week after batting .483/.556/.862 with 14 hits and 3 homers, including this crazy performance Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays.
4-for-6, 3 R, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, SB.
Have a day, @mookiebetts: https://t.co/iUi619TUEr pic.twitter.com/qlASYl8TsO
— MLB (@MLB) July 2, 2017
Look, gang, there are some players on whom you can do a deep dive and dig into the numbers to show massive improvement or regression from year to year. But in the case of Betts, the numbers tell the tale of his consistent awesomeness.
Most multi-HR games before turning 25, @RedSox history:
Jim Rice, 12@mookiebetts, 9
Ted Williams, 8 pic.twitter.com/b6TNEhdCw3
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) July 3, 2017
According to MLB, he is the fifth leadoff hitter in baseball history to record eight or more RBI in a game, and he also became the first player in MLB history to have two homers, four hits and at least eight RBI in the same game twice in his career.
Betts is a force of nature, and he is the best option out there to fill Mike Trout's shoes, if that's even possible.