Dave Roberts: Mookie Betts Has Exceeded Expectations In First Season With Dodgers

When the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox in February, it was with an eye on ending a 31-year World Series drought.

Betts had established himself as one of the best all-around players with the Red Sox, hitting a collective .301/.374/.542 over six seasons while providing elite defense in the outfield.

He earned many accolades during that stretch, including four All-Star appearances, four Gold Glove Awards and 2018 American League MVP honors. Ironically enough, it was the same year Betts led the Red Sox to a World Series championship against the Dodgers.

Having already accomplished so much at the young age of 27, Betts’ focus is on helping the Dodgers get over the hump. He is in the midst of an outstanding first season with the organization and finds himself in the thick of the National League MVP race.

“Yeah,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said when asked if Betts has exceeded sky-high expectations this season. “I think anyone — whether it be a coach, a fan, member of the media — can look at stats, but when you see a guy day in and day out, and the impact he has on the clubhouse, considerably better than I expected. And I had lofty goals anyway.”

Through 50 games, Betts is hitting .303/.376/.597 with nine doubles, one triple, an NL-best 16 home runs and 39 RBI. But as Roberts noted, his contributions extend beyond the diamond.

Betts has taken on a leadership role in the Dodgers clubhouse this season, helping some of the younger players work through slumps and adjust to the Major League lifestyle.

Austin Barnes recently credited Betts for emerging from a skid, while Zach McKinstry voiced his appreciation for advice that was given to him prior to making his MLB debut.

Roberts in awe watching Betts play

For all of the impressive numbers Betts has tallied this season, his high baseball IQ and attention to detail are other sources of praise.

That was evident in a recent contest against the Colorado Rockies, when Betts reached on an infield single and advanced to second base following a wild pitch.

Rockies reliever Mychal Givens then committed a blunder as he threw wide of the bag on a pickoff attempt. Betts alertly advanced to third base, made an aggressive turn and sprinted home as the Rockies lobbed the ball back into the infield.

“You’ve got Trout, but I just don’t see anybody else in that category,” Roberts said of his star right fielder.

“That’s one of the better plays you’ll ever see as far as the heads-up to take third base on the errant throw, and then to run hard around third base and understand where the baseball is at in shallow center field.”

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