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.”
- Former Cy Young Award winner, 1988 World Series champion and current Dodgers color commentator Orel Hershiser will be inducted into the Legends of Dodgers Baseball next weekend when the Dodgers host the Cincinnati Reds. Hershiser reflected on a career that took him from early struggles at Bowling Green University to the 18-year career he had as a major league pitcher with Mark Langill of Dodger Insider.
- Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times creates a list of potential candidates that the Dodgers could add ahead of the trade deadline, highlighting Chicago starters such as Lucas Giolito of the White Sox and Marcus Stroman of the Cubs as headliners for the list.
- Rookie starters Bobby Miller, Emmet Sheehan, and Michael Grove have all made a decent impact for a Dodgers rotation depleted by injuries, yet their future with the club is uncertain. As the trade deadline creeps closer with every passing day, the three rookie right-handers are focused on keeping the rotation afloat for the time being, reports Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.
- Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times writes on the Dodgers winning the 2020 World Series and how the team was never able to officially celebrate the championship as they return to Globe Life Field for the first time since October 2020.