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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

If you don’t know Mookie Betts, get acquainted. | SportsonEarth.com : Matthew Kory Article

Meet Mookie!

Jim Furtado Posted: May 06, 2014 at 05:55 PM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mookie betts, prospects, red sox

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   1. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: May 06, 2014 at 06:05 PM (#4701560)
OK, without looking, what are the real first names of Mookie Wilson and Mookie Blaylock?
   2. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: May 06, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4701571)
Mooklesby.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: May 06, 2014 at 06:18 PM (#4701575)
OK, without looking, what are the real first names of Mookie Wilson and Mookie Blaylock?


Pearl Jam
   4. JJ1986 Posted: May 06, 2014 at 06:21 PM (#4701578)
Mookie Wilson is William.
   5. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: May 06, 2014 at 06:35 PM (#4701586)
correct--but there was already a Willie Wilson in MLB so he had to change it to Mookie
   6. boteman Posted: May 06, 2014 at 07:17 PM (#4701610)
I knew Mookie Betts, but I didn't say anything for fear of him getting into trouble.
   7. Sonic Youk Posted: May 06, 2014 at 07:51 PM (#4701636)
Just singled to extend his on base streak to 58 games, 63 including playoffs.

Getting verrrrry close to the minor league record, currently held by two former Sox.
   8. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: May 06, 2014 at 09:20 PM (#4701678)
FYI Mookie Blaylock = Daron

now, if someone can tell me the real name of Mookie in "Do the Right Thing"....
   9. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: May 06, 2014 at 09:28 PM (#4701686)
So when does this guy get called up?
   10. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 06, 2014 at 10:52 PM (#4701747)
Betts is only 21, and started 2013 in low-A ball, so he has moved very quickly, and is still very young. Until a few months into last season, I don't think the organization saw Betts as somebody worth worrying about too much.

Now, though, this #### is real, and they are going to have to decide shortly where he will play:

SS is taken, with Bogaerts now up, and Deven Marrero (their AA shortstop, a fantastic glove guy who is hitting well) is not going to move out of the position, anyway.

2B is taken for about the next six years with Pedroia. The team also has an extremely young prospect, an 18-year-old 2B named Wendell Rijo, playing in Low A. He is a good glove guy who is hitting .321/.461/.494).

3B is probably taken, with Middlebrooks in Boston, and one of the better prospects in baseball, Garin Cecchini, playing 3B in AAA as a 23-year-old. His lack of power, though, may limit his upside.

So, you've probably got to put Betts in the OF. Bradley is going to be the CF, so the talk is that they try him in the OF (where he practices most days) later this year in either AA or AAA, and if he keeps hitting, he gets a shot in late 2015 or early 2016. Victorino, Gomes, Sizemore, and Carp will all be going or gone by then, anyway...

...but Betts is the real thing. This minor league system (and we haven't talked about the pitching depth or two catching prospects) is stacked.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: May 07, 2014 at 02:21 AM (#4701826)
Nothing in Betts's track record so far to dislike, definitely one to keep an eye on.

Your optimism about Bradley seems too strong though. Guy's K'ing 29% of the time, that is not a good sign. He's getting by on tons of walks -- lots of Ks, lots of walks looks like a guy taking a very passive approach at the plate. His 215 BA is not the fault of BABIP which sits at 323, it's the Ks. Defense only carries you so far. First guy that came to mind was Rich Becker -- who did have a big year at 24 and good year at 25 but otherwise was pretty much replacement level bench player.

He's only 24, it's only 200 PA, etc, etc, etc. He didn't K like this in the minors but still walked (and HBP'd plenty) -- I think he's got to trust his eye more and start swinging the bat.

Middlebrooks is also not likely to be the kind of player you move a prospect for. He should be league average for a while but the same main issue of tons of Ks although, rather than walk, he's hit a ton of FBs with a solid HR/FB rate. Given he was just a Stephen Drew QO acceptance away from being a part-timer I don't think the Red Sox have invested themselves too strongly in Middlebrooks either.

   12. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 07, 2014 at 02:56 AM (#4701834)
Is 29% really that scary a K rate in a league averaging 20%?
   13. Brian Posted: May 07, 2014 at 10:15 AM (#4701930)
Is 29% really that scary a K rate in a league averaging 20%?


Not when you can actually hit the other 71% of the time. No idea what, besides the glove, people see in Bradley.
   14. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 07, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4701944)

Not when you can actually hit the other 71% of the time. No idea what, besides the glove, people see in Bradley.


The glove is fantastic. I can't overstate how good he has looked so far, he's definitely an improvement over Ellsbury who is a very good outfielder in his own right but it's not close. He is never going to be a great hitter but he's disciplined enough that if he can hit .250 he'll be a passable bat. Even hitting just .216 he has a .327 OBP and a .114 ISO. His minor league track record suggests he's a .240-.250 hitter this year and that is a good player with his glove.
   15. Sonic Youk Posted: May 07, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4702023)
Not when you can actually hit the other 71% of the time. No idea what, besides the glove, people see in Bradley


he had nearly a 900 OPS through his minor league career, killed AAA, and has been a walk machine at every level in addition to the defense. Who knows how Bradley will turn out, but the hype is no mystery.
   16. PreservedFish Posted: May 07, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4702027)
No idea what, besides the glove, people see in Bradley.


I see him as a Denard Span type of guy. That's a good player.
   17. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: May 07, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4702106)
has been a walk machine at every level in addition to the defense.

I don't doubt that Bradley can be good, but I think walks at the minor league level have to be one of the more overrated criterion for judging a prospect. Though there are obvious exceptions, walks in the majors tend to come about as much as a byproduct of being a great hitter as they do from innate skill carried over from the minors.
   18. Sonic Youk Posted: May 07, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4702121)
Mookie leads off today's game with a homer to extend his streak. He is absurd right now.
   19. Sonic Youk Posted: May 07, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4702131)
I don't doubt that Bradley can be good, but I think walks at the minor league level have to be one of the more overrated criterion for judging a prospect. Though there are obvious exceptions, walks in the majors tend to come about as much as a byproduct of being a great hitter as they do from innate skill carried over from the minors.
fair enough, but I included that point because he has been walking a bunch in the majors too.
   20. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: May 07, 2014 at 12:20 PM (#4702148)
Though there are obvious exceptions, walks in the majors tend to come about as much as a byproduct of being a great hitter as they do from innate skill carried over from the minors.


Sure, but it's one of those things like adding power that you like to see as a player moves up the prospect ladder. Certainly being a good hitter is the most important, but a minor league player who doesn't walk much is probably going to be an MLB player who doesn't walk much (if they make it to MLB at all).

I do worry about Bradley's approach though - he can be a little passive at the plate. I think Bogaerts suffers a bit from this too. The Red Sox younger players seem like they let a higher than average number of hittable pitches go by - hopefully it's just adjusting to MLB quality breaking stuff and not some organization-wide issue.
   21. Dale Sams Posted: May 07, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4702154)
I disagree with the Ellsbury-JBJ comparisons. Yes, JBJ has a real arm, but defense is also a matter of opportunities and route-wise and actual side-to-side range, I haven't seen much difference. Going back range, I've seen JBJ have a couple of opportunities to make a spectacular play, and come close...but...
   22. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 07, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4702165)
Mookie leads off today's game with a homer to extend his streak. He is absurd right now.


It always amazes me when I look at someone's ridiculous numbers...and then compare them to peak Barry Bonds. Absolutely crazy what he did.
   23. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 07, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4702168)
I disagree with the Ellsbury-JBJ comparisons. Yes, JBJ has a real arm, but defense is also a matter of opportunities and route-wise and actual side-to-side range, I haven't seen much difference. Going back range, I've seen JBJ have a couple of opportunities to make a spectacular play, and come close...but...


I get the impression JBJ gets much, much better initial reads on the ball than Ellsbury. Ellsbury makes up for 95% of his poor reads with his speed, but I think JBJ has more effective range.
   24. Nasty Nate Posted: May 07, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4702171)
I disagree with the Ellsbury-JBJ comparisons. Yes, JBJ has a real arm, but defense is also a matter of opportunities and route-wise and actual side-to-side range, I haven't seen much difference.


I agree. I haven't noticed balls that Bradley gets which Ellsbury couldn't reach.

The arm strength difference is noticeable already though. After Damon/Crisp/Ellsbury, I had forgotten that centerfielders could throw fast.
   25. Chip Posted: May 07, 2014 at 12:49 PM (#4702173)
Agree with jacksone: from what I've seen, Bradley makes routine plays on balls where Ellsbury often has to resort to the spectacular - his instincts and routes are that much better. Ellsbury is over-reliant on his speed to make up ground for what are often poor initial reads, which is why he seems to need to gamble and dive for balls so much more than Bradley does. This is especially true coming in on balls.
   26. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 07, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4702224)
This is especially true coming in on balls.


Which is the result of Ellsbury playing so deep, because he is especially poor at judging balls hit over his head. Again, I am not knocking Ellsbury's overall defense, he is one of the better 'coverage' defenders, but it's because of his speed, not his instincts.
   27. Dale Sams Posted: May 07, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4702357)
If two players cover the same range (one because of speed and one because of instincts) how is one particularly better than the other? Other than JBJs arm of course. Though I haven't seen great accuracy with such yet.
   28. Walt Davis Posted: May 07, 2014 at 06:31 PM (#4702586)
The prospect mavens here always said minor-league BB rates and major-league BB rates have little to do with one another and I think Szym had numbers to back it up. Has that changed?

On minor-league walk rates you probably do want to see that in someone of Bradley's ability. But you don't care about the walk rate of the guy hitting 340/680 because he's just mashing everything they throw at him and, if he can hit anything like that in the majors, he'll probably be walked plenty.

Is a 29% K-rate in a 20% league really a problem. Yes.

Bradley has a 323 BABIP and a 216 BA. Given he has rarely homered so far (1.4%) his BABIP is almost the entirety of his BA. He can't be a successful MLBer hitting 216. To get his BA up to 250 at that K-rate, barring a big power surge, he needs a BABIP of about 350 (depending on what you want to assume about his true HR rate going forward). That's not impossible but it would be the 7th best of the expansion era, above Ichiro, Boggs, Gwynn. At a league-average K-rate, he'd need a BABIP around 310 which, based on my Billy Hamilton post the other day, seems to be the standard BABIP for fast guys with no power.

If you have to "hit" as well as Gwynn to carry a BA of 250, you've set yourself a challenge.

K-rate limits BA. For players without power, it absolutely destroys offensive value. BA (or more correctly H/PA) is the single most important offensive component.

Like I said, I think Bradley needs to trust his eye. Given his minor-league walk rate has translated over, he clearly can tell the difference between a ball and a strike. He needs to start swinging at more strikes. I think he probably get the K-rate down, maintain a good walk rate (maybe not quite as good but still good), maintain a BABIP around 310 or so -- 250/340/370 plays a lot better than where he's at right now.

None of this set in stone of course, it's just 220 PA and even if K-rates do "stick" more quickly than other rates, it's way too early to say his performance is his true talent.

That said, the Red Sox and a couple of other teams are putting up some pretty silly BB rates at the moment. The Sox have 9 guys (some bench) with OBPs 90+ points higher than their BAs. Maybe this is the new thing, maybe especially for weaker hitters -- don't try to be Juan Pierre, try to be Rich Becker or Gary Pettis. The A's have a few guys like this too.

Note, it's one thing to see power guys like Napoli and Ortiz do this. But guys like Bradley, Bogaerts (very promising but no power yet) and even the seemingly hopeless Herrera and 2014 version of Nava walking at crazy rates -- we've not seen that before on a consistent basis so it will be interesting to see how long it lasts. Maybe it is the solution for the weak hitter who, in a 20% K-rate league, is pretty much doomed to a crappy BA.
   29. Walt Davis Posted: May 07, 2014 at 06:41 PM (#4702592)
Let me also clarify:

1) I expect the Sox to give Bradley a good chance and that in general they understand his main value is defense and that as long as he can carry an OPS+ around 85-90, he'll still be an average player.

2) I agree that if Betts does force his way onto the club, the Sox are likely to have space for him in LF or RF if they want, especially by mid-2015 or so. That depends on what else the team does but there's no reason Betts has to displace Bradley (or Middlebrooks) at the moment.

3) I'm just saying that I don't expect either Bradley or Middlebrooks to be above-average and there's a very good chance they'll be useful but fundamentally flawed below-average players ... therefore, 3B and CF are not blocked in any meaningful sense for 2015 and beyond. Betts may end up in LF or RF but that will be because that's what they think the optimal spot is given the personnel on hand, the money they want to spend, who's available to spend it on, etc. 2B is blocked for the foreseeable future and Bogaerts blocks SS or 3B for the foreseeable future.

Not to curse the poor kid but Betts could be the player they expected Crawford to be.
   30. Publius Publicola Posted: May 07, 2014 at 06:43 PM (#4702596)
Bogaerts (very promising but no power yet


No power? I wouldn't go that far. No power is Eckstein. Bogaerts has 10 HR power right now.
   31. Sonic Youk Posted: May 07, 2014 at 07:05 PM (#4702602)
His power has shown up infrequently in games, but Xander has mashed 450 foot taters every time it *has* shown up. He is playing very well right now, but I have a strong feeling Bogaerts will be a star level player by August or so.
   32. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: May 08, 2014 at 01:03 AM (#4702704)
I agree that if Betts does force his way onto the club, the Sox are likely to have space for him in LF or RF


Well to play RF in Fenway you effectively need to have CF range with a RF arm, it's a tough position and the Sox have benefited first from Drew(the elder) and now Victorino out there, you need a guy with good range. An OF with Bradley, Betts and fat, slow masher in LF is a good one for the Sox in the future assuming Betts can play the OF really well. I agree with Walt though, I don't think the Sox are overly committed to WMB at 3rd and moving Xander over there and trying Betts at SS may be the future play.

The Red Sox system is absolutely stacked right now and I'd be surprised that they sit on their hands for long if they have a good chance at another playoff run and not trade someone for something they need. Perhaps a batsman who specialises in hitting w/ RISP...
   33. Publius Publicola Posted: May 08, 2014 at 07:25 AM (#4702737)
I doubt Betts has the arm to play SS. If he did, he'd be playing there now. The Sox philosophy is to push the defensive spectrum as far as possible in the minors and make downward adjustments as they progress to the majors.

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