Mookie Betts was among three players selected to represent the Los Angeles Dodgers on the National League All-Star team as a reserve, but he will not participate in the exhibition at Coors Field on July 13.
At the time of announcing 2021 All-Star Game replacements — which included Walker Buehler and Justin Turner — MLB also identified a list of players who will miss the 91st Midsummer Classic. Betts is designated as being out due to injury. He’s battled back and left shoulder trouble this year.
Nevertheless, the Dodgers’ five All-Stars this year represent the most in the NL.
Betts, who is having his worst season since 2017, had previously it was unexpected news to be selected to his fifth All-Star team.
“I was surprised,” Betts said. “Obviously I haven’t played that great, so yeah, I was definitely surprised. But also very thankful for making the team again. Definitely was surprised.”
This season, Betts is hitting .245, the lowest batting average of his career, and he is slugging .446, 70 points below his career rate. After calling his second-place finish in MVP voting last season a “serviceable” year, Betts was blunt when he described this season for him.
“Bad. This would be bad,” Betts said. “We have another half, trying to turn it around and get things rolling and help the team get some more wins.”
Despite his down year, Betts was still deserving of an All-Star spot. Among NL outfielders, he is sixth in WAR, ninth in wRC+ and 10th in OPS and wOBA.
The only outfielder who did not make the team and was arguably more deserving was Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper, however, with both playing at a pace that would earn them nearly 5 WAR over 162 games.
“I think bad is very strong, but I do like the expectation because it’s all relative and when you’re talking about a player of his caliber, the bar is certainly higher and rightfully so,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Betts’ assessment of his season.
“But what I will say is a lot of the things that us an organization value as far as overall ballplayer, things that are under the hood, things that really kind of project and see how we see the rest of the season playing out, are all really good. They line up.
“So I expect him to continue to get going and to I guess as he put it, not be bad for much longer. He’s a winning player and we wouldn’t be where we’re at without him so he’s an easy guy to bet on.”
Although he isn’t having the season he wants, Betts said it means a lot to have the respect of players around the league to still get voted into the All-Star Game by them.
“I think it’s pretty cool just to know what other people think of me,” Betts said. “I think the same way of those other guys so it’s just good to know that the feeling is mutual and just like I said, just excited.”
Betts excited for Taylor’s first All-Star Game
Betts was initially due to be joined in Colorado by Max Muncy, who will be playing in his second All-Star Game, and Chris Taylor, who is playing in his first.
“I didn’t know this was C.T.’s first All-Star. I thought he had been one before,” Betts said. “But I think everyone was kind of surprised, well not surprised, but like excited because he’s been playing great, C.T.
“You know what kind of guy he is, you’re just happy for him and any type of success he has. So he’s been a staple in our lineup for the last years so I just know that he’s been playing great and is very well-deserving of the All-Star Game.”
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