Dodgers News: Mookie Betts Needs More Repetition On Certain Infield Defensive Plays

Mookie Betts is in his first season as a full-time infielder as the Los Angeles Dodgers opted to move Betts to second base during the offseason after experimenting with it in 2023.

Then manager Dave Roberts moved him over to shortstop to alleviate some of the defensive struggles Gavin Lux was having. Betts has been the Dodgers primary shortstop this year, but he has also filled in at second base.

Betts has been solid at both positions thus far this season. He has a .969 fielding percentage at shortstop and 1.000 at second base. He has five defensive runs saved at shortstop.

He’s been better than anyone could expect a career outfielder making a switch to the infield at 32 to be.

But on Tuesday night against the San Francisco Giants, Betts was unable to make two different plays where a grounder was hit toward him. Both would have required a backhand scoop, a play he was unable to make on either occasion.

Roberts was not concerned about these two missteps from Betts, saying that certain things can’t be practiced outside of a game situation, according to Bill Plunkett of The Southern California News Group:

“With Mookie we’re still in the process of trying to get repetitions on plays that he’s never had,” Roberts said. “Diving for a ball in the outfield is different than diving for a ball on the dirt. That’s a ball that you just got to get repetitions because we don’t practice that, he doesn’t practice that.

“That’s something that, I know he feels we got to keep it in the infield. … Balls that he can get to, he’s making plays on, getting better at. But full-out diving and trying to keep it and corral it to then try to make a play – that’s something that, that’s a rep. … I believe that, with more time, he’s going to get better at all these plays.”

Betts was not expected to be a perfect shortstop right off the bat. In fact, he’s likely exceeded expectations with advanced metrics grading him out as above average at the position.

And like any player learning a new position, there are going to be growing pains. But Betts is as well-equipped to handle the switch as anyone in the Majors.

Dodgers’ Will Smih rediscovered mechanics

Smith is in the midst of another outstanding season but had been 0-for-his-last-16 entering play Monday. He hopes there will be more good offensive performances after rediscovering his mechanics and spending extra time in the batting cage.

Even with his recent slump, Smith is still batting an excellent .309/.371/.475 with 11 doubles, four home runs and 28 RBI in 159 plate appearances over 36 games this season.

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