One of the hottest hitters in the minors is a relative unknown prospect to the casual baseball fan, but that will change during the season. Red Sox second base prospect Mookie Betts was ranked as the 75th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America coming into the season, but he will move up their rankings in 2014.
Betts is tearing up the AA Eastern League, hitting .383-.452-.591 with six home runs, 44 runs scored, 26 RBI and 18 stolen bases in just 177 plate appearances. He is on the verge of a promotion to AAA, and possible a call up to the big league club at some point later in the season. He is currently blocked by Dustin Pedroia at second base, so he will have to move to another position to earn that call up, and yesterday the Red Sox gave him a shot in center field, according to the Portland Sea Dogs radio twitter account:
It's happening. RT: @seadogsradio Mookie Betts starting in CF today.- Marc Normandin (@Marc_Normandin) May 18, 2014
Betts may not get a call up to the big leagues this season, but with Jackie Bradley Jr.hitting just .200-.301-.296 with 18 runs scored, 13 RBI , and 3 stolen bases in 143 plate appearances, the Red Sox may be looking for more production out of center field later in the season. Bradley is also struggling to make contact, as he is striking out almost 30% of his plate appearances thus far.
The Red Sox will need to see Betts play center field for more than a few games, so a call up is not imminent. But the fact that they are giving him a shot in center field with Bradley struggling tells me they are considering it.
Betts is a speculative pick up in redraft leagues right now, but if you want to get ahead of your league owners and have an empty bench spot, grabbing Betts off of your league waiver wire is a decent spec play.
More on Mookie Betts from Fake Teams prospect writing team
Our own Matt Mattingly recently wrote about Betts in his Making the Grade series:
Thomas Shiels also wrote a prospect review piece on Betts back in early April:
For more on the Red Sox fan reaction to this news, check out Over the Monster, SB Nation's Red Sox fan site.