In Mookie Betts' first full professional season in 2012 he hit zero home runs in 71 games. When Betts was drafted as a light hitting middle infielder in the fifth round of the 2011 draft the hope was that he would become a doubles hitter. The power barrage he's been on since 2012 has been nothing short of amazing. He hit 15 homers in 2013 followed by 16 in 2014 and 18 last year. After his three homer game last night Betts is now up to 12 homers in 2016 and it's only June 1.
In 2014 it became clear Betts, a second baseman, was ready to graduate to the majors. However, with Dustin Pedroia already manning the position Betts made the switch to outfield and looked as if he had been playing it his whole life. In a lost season for Boston the Red Sox called up Mookie with an eye on 2015. In a 52 game sample size that year he hit .291 with a .368 OBP while slugging five homers and stealing seven bases.
2015 was yet another disappointing season for the Red Sox but ended up being a huge year for Betts' development. After a slow start he was able to finish with 18 homers, 21 steals, a .291 batting average and a .341 OBP. He played center field for most the season until Jackie Bradley Jr.'s elite defense pushed Betts to right. However, Mookie would be a center fielder on nearly 25 other teams and Fenway's spacious right field requires somebody with his athleticism.
Mookie, who's real first name is Markus, credits his power development to strong hands and wrists from a lifetime of bowling. If he wasn't one of the ten best outfielders in baseball right now he would probably be a professional bowler, as he bowled two perfect games in the span of a few weeks over the offseason.
In addition to Betts' 12 home runs so far this year he ranks first in the American League in runs, third in hits, first in triples, and third in RBI. He is the leadoff hitter for the best offense in baseball and at just 23 years old has the potential to develop even more power as he enters his prime. The Red Sox offense is so loaded right now that it's a legitimate debate who their MVP has been so far this season. Regardless of whether or not he is the best player on his own team Markus Lynn Betts (MLB) is going to be one of baseball's best for years to come.