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Dodgers notes: Mookie Betts, Orel Hershiser, trade deadline options

Los Angeles Dodgers v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Mookie Betts had already won an MVP and a World Series championship before being acquired by the Dodgers from the Red Sox in February 2020. Since that trade, Betts has maintained his defensive versatility and prowess on the field, which has led to his positioning on the diamond becoming more diversified.

Betts has been regarded as one of baseball’s best right fielders since the 2016 season, earning six gold gloves at the position. With injuries and underperformance from the Dodgers middle infielders this season, Betts has handled the task of filling in at second base and shortstop — a position he hadn’t previously played at the major league level — seemingly with ease.

Defensively, Betts has yet to yield any errors at second base in 207 innings and has committed only three errors at shortstop in just under 100 innings.

His defensive versatility is an added bonus when determining the Dodgers’ lineups against both right and left-handed pitchers. When facing right-handed pitching, Betts can be slated at second base to make room for an all left-handed hitting outfield, comprising of Jason Heyward, James Outman, and David Peralta. When facing southpaws, Betts can man any position needed so long as he is accompanied by a majority of fellow right-handed hitters.

Betts’ defensive versatility has silenced critics who believed that he wouldn’t replicate the same standout defense he had in right field to the middle infield. Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register writes about Betts’ adjustment from predominantly manning right field to holding down both middle infield positions, comparing the adjustments to playing in summer ball:

“That’s the thing. Like, utility guy – that’s what I did,” Betts said. “Summer ball, Little League, high school – that’s what I did. I was a utility player that could hit. Nothing’s really changed. This is like summer ball. I remember summer ball I would play short one game, second one game, center one game. So I’m not nervous. This is just normal.”