Mookie Betts on His Way to Second Career MVP Award


  • In the shortened season, standard and advanced stats make a case for the right fielder
  • Defensively, Betts has outperformed fellow MVP candidate Atlanta Brave’s Freddie Freeman
  • Despite long being the front runner, San Diego Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. faltered briefly in September

Numbers Don’t Lie

Following a blockbuster trade from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2018 AL MVP, Mookie Betts has continued to rake in the National League. In 55 games, the 27-year old posted a .292/.366/.562 slash line, managing 16 home runs and swiping ten bases in the process. His home runs and stolen bases qualify Betts for the top five in each category in the National League, third and fifth, respectively. 

Past the surface numbers, the $365-million man graded out third in the National League in Offensive Runs Above Average (OFF), 3.0, and tied for ninth in Defensive Runs Above Average (DEF), 3.1. These numbers played a part in culminating in Betts’ 3.0 fWAR, which places him third in the majors behind the Cleveland Indians’ Jose Ramirez and fellow NL MVP challenger, Freddie Freeman.

The Case vs. Freeman

With Betts in right field, the Dodgers possess the best defender in that position in the league. His previously mentioned DEFF of 3.1 leads not only the National League but the entire Majors. In comparison, Atlanta Braves’ first baseman, Freddie Freeman, posted a -1.3 DEFF. While that number isn’t terrible relative to other first baseman, it highlights the lack of defensive prowess required to play at first. In comparison, Mookie Betts is an asset in right field, with 133 putouts and an ARM (outfield arms runs) of .5, highlighting base runners reluctance to run on Betts. 

The Case vs. Tatis

Had the season ended September 1st, good chances are this piece would be about San Diego Padres’ star shortstop, Fernando Tatis Jr. It was then that the 21-year old was batting .313 with 13 home runs and 33 RBI in only 37 games. Unfortunately, the blossoming superstar cooled off significantly after that, going just 16-for-77 and seeing his OBP% slip from .404 to .366. 

Meanwhile, Betts continued his strong play in the field and at-bat, hitting a solid if not spectacular, .284 with five home runs and twelve RBI to lead the Dodgers to the National Leagues top spot. 

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