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Mookie Betts: MLB Prospects, Rookies & Call-Ups Evaluation


Recent MLB Prospect Call-Ups

Mookie-Betts-MLB-fantasy-baseball-prospects-rookies-call-upsMookie Betts made his major league debut recently after skyrocketing through the minors in early 2014. While showing he has what it takes to make it in the majors, and solidifying himself as a top MLB prospect, clearly the offensive struggles of the Red Sox along with Betts’ willingness to play the outfield made this an easy decision for both sides.

Despite Betts coming up as a second baseman, Dustin Pedroia isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And with the release of Grady Sizemore, Jackie Bradley Jr.’s non-existence at the plate, and Shane Victorino going through his 2nd DL stint of the year - the youngster played the hand he was dealt and was called-up to the majors the only way he was allowed. But sometimes all it takes is an opportunity of circumstance.

 

Who is Mookie Betts?

While in AAA Pawtucket for just 23 games, Betts racked up a .322 AVG, .425 OBP and .444 SLG with 2 HR, 14 R, 14 RBI, 7 SB and a 13/16 K/BB rate. Yes, that’s right. Betts walked more than he struck out. The kid has amazing plate discipline, and his stats back it up. Here is excerpt from Dave Cameron of FanGraphs on Betts' composure at the plate:

“Betts only swung at 34% of the pitches he was thrown in Pawtucket, and he made contact on 88% of his swings… While Betts will almost certainly see more in-zone pitches and be forced to swing more often in the big leagues, he has shown a pretty disciplined eye at the plate, and we shouldn’t expect him to expand the strike zone even against big league pitching.”

 

2014 & Long-Term Fantasy Outlook

Unlike most minor league stats that can seem inflated due to the lack of elite talent, skills such as Betts’ plate discipline will likely to transfer well to the big leagues. What also can transfer is his base stealing. Despite being caught stealing in his first game with the Red Sox, Betts can add value to fantasy teams with his steals upside. He's racked up a total of 29 SB in 2014 between AA and AAA, being caught only 5 times. While he has been batting 8th since his call up, speed does not need to be at the top in order to be fantasy productive.

His power is not quite there, as the 21 year old prospect only stands at 5’9" and 156 lbs, but he did hit 8 total dingers in 2014 before his MLB promotion. His HR total will likely be low as Betts is predominantly a contact hitter, yet can still hit the occasional one out of the park. His batting style has been compared to Coco Crisp when combining the contact rates along with the lack of, but still existent, power numbers.

It is also nice that while Crisp did not develop these skills until his mid 30’s, Betts has already shown that he can be that type of hitter in the minors. Crisp is often considered an undervalued fantasy option for teams, and both he and Betts can help teams who need to add a little bit of everything to their player depth. Yet Betts has the much higher long term upside. If Betts is already somewhat close to where Crisp is, but he’s there at 21, what does that mean for his long term future?  We're looking at a Coco Crisp light, with upside for more. He's a young, talented, prospect with the tools to succeed.

As John Fogerty, and now Mookie Betts is saying to the Red Sox and fantasy owners, “Put me in coach. I’m ready to play center field."