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Mookie Betts, was called up to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday to join the lineup for Sunday’s final game in a 3-game series against the New York Yankees in the Bronx.
Betts, 21, has been rocketing through the farm system in much the same way that Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts have. Betts started the 2014 season in Portland. He played in 54 games for the AA Portland Sea Dogs and hit .355/.435/.551. He was promoted to AAA Pawtucket and hit .332/.425/.444 over 23 games.
In the last few weeks, he has been in and out of an offensive slump. Now the Red Sox want to see what he can do at the major league level where offensive numbers are painfully low. A player like Betts may be able to make the most of those situations where there are players in scoring position. Placing Betts, who seems to be able to shine no matter where the franchise puts him, at the bottom of the batting order may be a big risk worth taking considering his on-base percentage numbers are consistently high.
Betts was drafted out of high school in 2011 during the June MLB Amateur draft. He joined the Gulf Coast League then progressed through the system over the next two years. Talk of his talents began last year. He had strong seasons with the Greenville Drive in South Carolina and Salem Red Sox in Virginia. Finally, he was promoted to the Portland Sea Dogs where he finished the 2013 season.
Defensively, he has much the same pedigree that Brock Holt does. He can play second base, outfield, and shortstop. He played second base coming up through the farm system, but will most likely end up in the outfield. In Pawtucket they began cross-training him in the outfield knowing the Boston Red Sox have the defensive coverage they need in second baseman Dustin Pedroia and shortstops Stephen Drew and Xander Bogaerts.
Rubby De La Rosa was optioned back to Pawtucket to pitch for them in exchange for Betts. Sending De La Rosa down emphasizes the pressing need the Red Sox have for offense. During his last two starts he earned only one run and 5 hits.
Let’s hope Betts makes the most of his opportunity against the Yankees. The Sox sacrificed a solid pitcher to make room for Mookie on the roster.