Tuesday, November 18, 2014

2015 Will Be The Year of Mookie Betts

I watched Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.  I Watched It.  Bob Stanley (we still don't give him enough "credit" for that loss), Bill Buckner, Gary Carter and especially Mookie Wilson.  I watched the whole thing and I'm still scarred.

I have bad memories of Mookie Wilson driving that ball down the 1st base line, jumping up and down as the tying and winning run scored to take victory out of the Red Sox hands.  And while I seriously doubted I would ever meet another person in my life with the name Mookie, I swore that it would not be a good experience if it ever did happen.

Until Jackie Bradley Jr.'s replacement came along.

Now while everyone is talking about Giancarlo Stanton, Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, the Panda Guy, James Shields, etc., the player that could have the most impact on the 2015 Boston Red Sox could be Mookie Betts. The 5th Round Draft Pick of the 2011 Amateur Draft who is the size of my 12 year old son could very well be the breakout star of the Red Sox next year.  While he has played too many games to qualify as a Rookie next year, his first year as a major player in the line up could be a doozy.  Coupled with Rusney Castillo, Yoenis Cespedes and a healthy Shane Victorino, Betts could be a part of a tough offense-focused outfield that the Red Sox were sorely lacking in 2014.

His 2014 campaign included a general tearing up the Eastern League until he was called up to Pawtucket half way through the season.  His 45 games in Pawtucket was almost identical to his 55 games in Portland.  His .346/.431/.529 splits in the Minors led to a late Summer call up to the big house.  After Jackie Bradley Jr. crapped up Center Field most of the year, it was refreshing to see Betts play CF.  But he also played 2nd base, and Right Field. A true renaissance ball player.

But he's also the leadoff bat that we needed since Jacoby Ellsbury left for the Yankees (Sorry Brock, you're just not that good) and the spark plug that could lead to runs in the first inning and some pop at the top of the line up. He's hit 31 home runs with a slugging percentage over .500 over the last two years.  He's also a patient hitter, keeping his OBP over .360 over that time as well.

The Red Sox are reloading with a lot of high priced talent, but the key to another playoff run in 2015 might be the slight, 22 year old kid on the team right now.

That's a Mookie I can get behind.

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