Courtesy of baseball-reference.com:
Originally drafted in the 5th round in 2011, Betts has always had the speed and approach to be a major leaguer. The caveats were just as prominent, however. A complete lack of power and questions about his projectability made him slip to the 5th round. His 2012 campaign did nothing to quell those fears, however, as he posted a line that would make Juan Pierre look like Adam Dunn:
.267 avg / .352 OBP/ .307 SLG
With a total of 9 XBH in 251 ABs, Betts had serious question marks going into 2013. There were, however, several components in Betts first full campaign that the Sox brass took notice of:
A 32/30 BB/K ratio, which was stellar and indicated he was open to the implementation of the process the Red Sox stress throughout their system that stresses patience and working counts.
A 20/4 SB/CS for an 83% SB success rate, which by the way was higher than the infamous Billy Hamilton in 2013. Great aptitude on the basepaths, and also shows the baseball smarts that have been part of Betts reports since he was drafted.
This 2012 season had good and bad parts, and at the end of it, no one was screaming for Betts to be a Top 100 prospect, let alone a Top 50-type. But in looking at his component ratios in 2013, we saw several things that have changed dramatically within the skill set Betts brings to the table:
He answered the questions about his projectability, exploding for a season that had some of the same components as 2012, but with the added power element that had been missing, to the tune of:
.314 AVG /.417 OBP / .506 SLG
Betts completely exploded, with 55 XBH, leading to the .506 SLG rate. But it didn't stop there. He continued to exhibit a very selective eye, increasing his BB:K rate to an outstanding 81:57.
And for any of us in dynasty leagues, or rotisserie leagues, or fantasy, he completely became very worthy of helium due to these facts:
An improving batting eye that was a very good to begin with and;
A power breakout that was accompanied by an increase in selectivity at the tender age of 21 and;
He just so happens to play 2b, which is one of the thinnest fantasy positions that exist.
So with all of this information, what can we expect for a preview from Mookie in 2014?
Well, there are several schools of thought on this. Three outcomes if you will, in the form of players who could be a ceiling for Betts, a floor, and a median expectation for Bett's career arc:
Ceiling - Jason Kipnis. 20 HR power and 30 SB speed with better OBP. This is an absolute best case scenario in which Bett's power continues to develop.
Median - Dustin Pedroia. 15 HR / 20 SB along with great OBP and great average. A first division player who could be a multiple All Star.
Floor - Jose Altuve. The power doesn't develop and he becomes a leadoff man who isn't designed to hit lower in the order but has value due to hands, defense, speed and ability to get on base.
With all of this information at your fingertips, go ahead with confidence and grab Betts in your league and watch the next great 2b emerge. I know I will.