Mookie Betts Slumping But Not Bothered By Shortstop Workload

The Los Angeles Dodgers planned to have Mookie Betts play second base this season but quickly pivoted during Spring Training and flipped him over to shortstop in light of Gavin Lux experiencing defensive trouble.

Betts embraced the challenge and the Dodgers collectively expressed confidence he would be able to learn the position on the fly. That hasn’t necessarily been the case, however, as Betts has a subpar -6 outs above average as a shortstop this season.

Moreover, in 22 games since May 15, he is batting .239 with a .736 on-base plus slugging percentage. The decline offensive production have caused many to wonder if the difficulty of learning shortstop and navigating the physical toll it requires is having a greater impact than he’s letting on.

But both Betts and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts have vehemently denied that to be the case, saying that the offensive slump is a separate issue.

Betts doubled down on that sentiment, noting that despite the slump he physically is feeling just fine, according to Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:

“This is the best I’ve felt since I was probably 21 or 22 years old,” he said. “So that absolutely has no part. It’s just purely me.”

Betts scuffling at the plate have somewhat directly correlated with the Dodgers struggling as a team as well. L.A. is 11-11 in the 22 games that Betts has been slumping at the plate. But the Dodgers are going to continue backing their superstar leadoff man, even if the numbers tell a difficult story the last few weeks.

It’s not surprising that the Dodgers star is feeling good, though. Betts had an 1.100 OPS for the first 33 games of the season and remained above 1.000 for the first 40 contests. He’s not far removed from having early National League MVP buzz.

Dave Roberts endorses Mookie Betts for All-Star Game shortstop

Roberts didn’t mince words when discussing what Betts has done this season, believing that he has more than earned his place in the All-Star Game. Not just as a selected player, but specifically to be the NL’s starting shortstop.

“There’s a lot of great players but to see where he’s evolved on the field positionally and thrived, I don’t see anyone doing that,” Roberts recently said.

“If the All-Star Game was tomorrow, he would be the starting shortstop. There would be a lot of disappointed shortstops that he took the position but it is what it is.”

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