Let's take a look at 10 of the most important attributes that should help to indicate what a prospect’s future might hold. Players are ranked on a scale of 1-10 by their qualities for each aspect, accumulating in a final prospect grade. Grades are based on what prospects can bring to the table from the current position they are projected to play in the major leagues.
Without further ado, let’s find out if Mookie Betts makes the grade…
1) Baseball IQ – The middle infield prospect turned down a chance to play baseball and bowl in college (Betts was offered scholarships for both) to sign with the Red Sox out of high school. The top 2B prospect has demonstrated the offensive prowess necessary to have continued success as he graduates to the upper levels of the minor leagues. Rating: 10 out of 10.
2) Batting-Eye – In 2013, Betts walked 81 times and struck-out 57 times. Let me put that another way, BETTS WALKS MORE THAN HE STRIKES OUT!!! Oh yeah, and he hits for a high average, which currently sits at a .430 clip for the 2014 season. Betts should become a low strikeout, high average batter in the big leagues. Rating: 10 out of 10.
3) Hit-Tool – As mentioned above, Betts can hit the shizz out of the ball. With 40 hits logged in his first 22 games played in 2014, the prospect is averaging almost 2 hits per game. Add in the 11 walks, and you have an OBP of .481. That’s right, Betts has reached base in nearly half of his plate appearances this year. Rating: 10 out of 10.
4) Power – Although Betts is a small bodied middle infield prospect, he does have surprising pop for his size. After jacking 15 HR’s during the 2013 season, fantasy managers can expect similar totals once the second baseman settles in as an everyday big leaguer. Rating: 8 out of 10.
5) Speed – Scouts believe Mookie’s speed may be his biggest weapon. During the 2013 season, the 21 year-old swiped 38 bases in 127 games. To begin the 2014 campaign, the budding prospect has improved on those numbers by stealing 10 bags in the month of April. Rating: 9 out of 10.
6) Body – Betts stands at 5’9" and weighs in at a lean 156 pounds. But don’t let his small frame fool you, there is a decent amount of power in this small package, and the second baseman has tallied 4 dingers in his first 22 games at Double-A this season. Rating: 7 out of 10.
7) Durability – Between the SAL and Carolina League in 2013, Betts logged 127 games played with 462 at-bats. The young prospect looks poised to take over the everyday duties at 2B for a big league club in the near future. No reason to be concerned here. Rating: 10 out of 10.
8) Ceiling – Betts has placed his name amongst the top middle infield prospects in baseball by demonstrating enough power, nice speed, and a great hitting approach at the plate. The young phenom is capable of putting up 15 HR’s along with at least 30 SB’s and an average around .300 during his prime. Rating: 10 out of 10.
9) Floor – With an advanced hitting approach at the age of 21, it is difficult to envision Betts not at least becoming an average fantasy second baseman. At worst, I believe we should have a better version of Omar Infante with speed for fantasy purposes. Rating: 7 out of 10.
10) Future – The main question mark here has to do with playing time. Where will he fit in at Fenway Park? A possible move to the outfield could speed up the prospect’s ETA. But this skill set will play best from the middle infield, so a trade to another organization is always a possibility. Rating: 9 out of 10.
Overall Grade: 90% - A-
Future Outlook: The Boston Red Sox decided to give their cornerstone player, Dustin Pedroia, a contract through the 2021 baseball season. Mookie did start his professional career as a shortstop, but Xander Bogaerts could be a staple there in Boston for the foreseeable future. Unless something happens to Will Middlebrooks, and Bogaerts is shifted to 3B, there doesn’t appear to be a spot for the second base prospect anytime soon. There have already been rumors surfacing that Betts could be used as a trade chip down the road. Keith Law called Mookie Betts the "most blocked prospect in baseball" during the pre-season. With the way the Red Sox pitching staff has struggled in the first part of the season, it wouldn’t surprise me if Betts was used to acquire a pitcher around the trade deadline. If the San Francisco Giants fall out of playoff contention, a trade centered around Matt Cain, or a pitcher of similar value could be feasible. Regardless of where Betts ends up, if he keeps hitting like this, it won’t be long before he forces his way into a big league lineup. The second baseman now rivals the upside of any other prospect at the position in the minor leagues. Mookie Betts will be ready to play in the major leagues by this time next year at the very latest, the only question is, will there be a spot for him?