Dodgers News: Errors At Shortstop ‘Really Bothers’ Mookie Betts

The Los Angeles Dodgers made the decision to shift Mookie Betts to the shortstop position at the backend of Spring Training, following a quick decision by the front office to remedy the throwing woes of fellow infielder Gavin Lux.

Betts has taken the move in stride, even putting in extra hours before games on the field, taking ground balls and working on his throwing from a new spot. The work on the dirt coincided with his blistering start offensively, to which he’s kept his name in the early conversation for National League MVP.

But the grind of the season can expose even the hardest working players, and hiccups will happen. Betts, frankly, believes he’s only made slight improvements.

“Yeah, I think I’ve definitely made some strides, but they’re some pretty short strides,” Betts said.

“I can’t speed it up, there’s no way to really speed it up. As bad as I want to, as bad as I want to be good at it, it’s hard. It’s hard for everyone, and I just started doing it, so experience is going to be the only thing that’s really going to teach me.”

Entering play on May 24, Betts has committed six throwing errors from shortstop, second most in Major League Baseball. He’s worked through those mistakes, but doesn’t give himself much credit for working through those bumps.

“None, that’s what I’m supposed to do,” Betts added. “Making errors really bothers me. It really, really bothers me. You just have to be better than that, man. That’s really all it is… I got to keep working.”

Expressing a level of frustration with his own play is what elite players do when expecting greatness. The defensive metrics have been unkind to Betts thus far, but he has a level of belief that it can only improve from here.

“I think it’s been not very good, but it is what it is,” Betts said. “It’s a work in progress, my first time doing it in a long time, but you’ve got to start somewhere. At least with me feeling like I’m on the lower end, there’s nowhere to go but up from here.”

How should the Dodgers address Mookie Betts and the shortstop position?

The overview of Betts’ experience at shortstop is difficult to assess, but easy at the same time. Betts should be given leeway as 31-year-old, learning a new position, which also happens to be the toughest one, making it difficult to assign him a fair grade.

However, his pitfalls have been the same that many true shortstops face. The downside is all the metrics and 357.1 innings of data, is that it’s stacked against him.

It’s not a knock that he isn’t playing stellar defense, or even baseline, for that matter. The misplays, lack of range, and natural feel for the position is what’s plagued him thus far.

His drive to get better defensively will keep him on his toes this season, but to his own admission, the struggles are getting to him. Lux shouldn’t be a reason the Dodgers refrain from using Miguel Rojas at a higher clip, or exploring a high-end trade for the position.

Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!