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Mookie Betts

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Markus Lynn "Mookie" Betts (born October 7, 1992), is an American professional baseball second baseman and outfielder for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB). Betts is listed at 5'9", 156 pounds, and bats and throws right handed.[1] Entering the 2014 season, he was rated the 74th best prospect by Baseball America,[2] while MLB.com ranked Betts the 58th-best overall prospect and third among second basemen.[3]

Early baseball careerEdit

High schoolEdit

Betts attended John Overton High School in Nashville, Tennessee, playing second base, shortstop and outfield.[4] In 2011, his senior year, he batted .509 with 30 steals[5] and was an honorable mention inclusion for the Louisville Slugger High School All-American list.[6]

In 2010, his junior year at Overton, Betts batted .549 with 24 steals en route to an undefeated season. In November that year, Betts signed a letter of commitment to attend the University of Tennessee on a baseball scholarship, also getting recruited by Vanderbilt University, Mississippi State University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.[7]

At Overton, Betts was also a standout basketball player, named MVP of the District 12-AAA league his senior season while averaging 14.1 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals per game;[8] and also named Class AAA All-City Player of the Year for the Nashville, Tennessee metropolitan area.[9] His junior year, Betts was named MVP of the District 12-AAA tournament.[10]

Betts also excelled in bowling, named the Tennessee boys Bowler of the Year in 2010 with a high score of 290.[11]

The Boston Red Sox selected Betts in the fifth round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft with the 172nd overall pick.[12] After protracted negotiations,[13] Betts subsequently rescinded his commitment to the University of Tennessee, signing a $750,000 contract with the Red Sox organization[14]

Minor LeaguesEdit

Betts played one game in 2011 for the GCL Red Sox of the rookie Gulf Coast League, getting two hits in four at bats.[15] In 2012, he batted .267 and stole 20 bases in 71 games for the short season Lowell Spinners of the New York-Penn League.[1]

Betts started the 2013 season with the Greenville Drive of the Low A South Atlantic League. In 76 games, Betts batted .296[1] with a 19-game hitting streak[16] and was selected to the South Atlantic League All-Star Game.[17]

On July 9, Betts was promoted to the Salem Red Sox of the High A Carolina League,[18] batting .341 in 51 games to complete the 2013 season with a combined .314 average in 127 games between Greenville and Salem with 15 home runs and 38 steals.[1] Betts was named Offensive Player of the Year and Breakout Player of the Year in the Boston minor league system,[19] leading all Sox minors players with a .506 slugging percentage, while his .314 batting average ranked him third behind Alex Hassan (.338) and Garin Cecchini (.322).[20] Betts was a second-team inclusion on the Baseball America Minor League All-Star Team for 2013, with the first-team selection for second base going to Marcus Semien, an infielder in the Chicago White Sox system.[21] Betts subsequently played 16 games for the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League, batting .271.[15]

Betts opened the 2014 season with the Portland Sea Dogs of the Double-A Eastern League,[1] batting .355 in 54 games to lead the Eastern League through June 2. On June 3, Betts was promoted to the Pawtucket Red Sox of the Triple-A International League,[22] batting .322 and reaching base in all 23 games with the PawSox.[23]

In 2013 and 2014, Betts reached base in 66 straight regular-season games plus five playoff games for a combined streak of 71 games. Because official baseball streak records do not include playoff games, Betts' streak has been listed at 66 games; Kevin Millar and Kevin Youkilis hold the official minor league record for consecutive games reaching base, at 71 games, with Minor League Baseball lacking data on the statistic prior to 1997.[24]

Since mid-May 2014, Betts has played outfield in addition to second base.[25] In 2013, four-time All-Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia signed an eight-year, $110 million contract extension with the Red Sox, leading to speculation that the Red Sox would groom Betts for a new position.[26][27]

Major LeaguesEdit

Betts was promoted to the Red Sox on June 28, 2014.[28][29] He had previously been selected for the All-Star Futures Game, but was replaced following his promotion to the Major Leagues.[30]

Betts made his debut on June 29, recording his first major league career hit against Yankees starter Chase Whitley in the fourth inning.[31] He hit his first home run on July 2 off the Cubs' Carlos Villanueva.[32] He then was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket on July 19 when Shane Victorino was activated from the disabled list,[33] and was recalled to Boston on August 1. Betts was optioned back to Pawtucket in August, and recalled again on August 18.[34]

On August 29, Betts hit his first career grand slam against Rays pitcher Chris Archer in a Red Sox victory at Tropicana Field.[35] At age 21, Betts became the youngest Sox player to hit a grand slam in 49 years[36][37] Betts spent most of the 2014 season playing in the outfield, but on September 11 manager John Farrell announced that Betts would play second base "fairly regularly" following injuries to regular second basemen Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt.[38]

Betts split the 2014 season fairly evenly between AA, AAA and MLB, playing 52 major league games.[39] He performed well for the Red Sox, hitting .291 with five home runs; and played over half his innings in center field.[40]

Personal lifeEdit

Betts is a nephew of Terry Shumpert,[41] who played parts of 14 seasons with the Royals, Red Sox, Cubs, Padres, Rockies, Dodgers and Tampa Bay Devil Rays.[42] In 2004, Shumpert spent his final season of professional baseball with the Triple A Nashville Sounds and worked extensively with Betts.[43]

Betts' first Little League coach was his mother Diana, who also taught him to bowl at an early age.[13]

Betts' parents chose his name in part to form the initials MLB, matching those of Major League Baseball.[13] He has attributed his nickname Mookie to his parents watching former NBA guard Mookie Blaylock play basketball shortly after Betts was born. Betts has stated he has never met Blaylock.[44]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Mookie Betts. MiLB.com. Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  2. "2014 Baseball America Top 100 Prospects: The 25th Edition," ''Baseball America,'' February 20, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-29. Baseballamerica.com. Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  3. "2014 Prospect Watch," MLB.com. Retrieved April 30, 2014. Mlb.mlb.com (March 27, 2014). Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  4. Why the Mookie Betts position question is really an answer. WEEI.com (2014-04-29). Retrieved on 2014-05-01.
  5. "2011 National High School Baseball Coaches Association All Region Teams," High School Baseball Coaches Association. Retrieved April 30, 2014 (PDF). Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  6. "Shepherd and Creech Named 2011 Louisville Slugger High School All-Americans," WKYT.com, June 22, 2011. Retrieved 2014-04-30. Wkyt.com. Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  7. 7:40 p.m. CST November 11, 2010 (November 11, 2010). "Overton's Mookie Betts to sign with UT in baseball," The Tennessean, November 11, 2010. Retrieved 2014-04-30. Tennessean.com. Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  8. February 23, 2011 (February 23, 2011). "Overton's Mookie Betts named 12-AAA MVP," The Tennessean, February 23, 2011. Retrieved 2014-04-30. Tennessean.com. Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  9. "Top Metro hoops coaches, players honored", The Tennessean, April 19, 2011. Retrieved on June 30, 2014.
  10. February 24, 2010 (February 24, 2010). "Bobcats do it by committee in 68-64 win over Warriors," The Tennessean, February 24, 2010. Retrieved 2014-04-30. Tennessean.com. Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  11. Langone, Matt (June 18, 2012). "Mookie bets on baseball - and Spinners hope it pays off," The Lowell Sun, June 18, 2012. Retrieved 2014-04-30. Lowellsun.com. Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  12. "2011 Draft Draft Tracker," MLB.com. Retrieved April 30, 2014. Mlb.mlb.com (March 27, 2014). Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Mookie Betts is rising fast in Red Sox system. Boston Globe (June 6, 2014). Retrieved on June 7, 2014.
  14. 6:52 p.m. CDT June 27, 2012 (June 27, 2012). "Mookie Betts starts pro career with Spinners," The Tennessean, June 27, 2012. Retrieved 2014-04-29. Tennessean.com. Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Error on call to Template:cite web: Parameters url and title must be specified.
  16. Pereira, Kevin (October 28, 2013). "Top 40 Season in Review: Mookie Betts," Sox Prospects.com, October 28, 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-30. News.soxprospects.com. Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  17. "South Atlantic League Announces All-Star Rosters," Baseball America, June 4, 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-30. Baseballamerica.com. Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  18. Dunne, James (July 9, 2013). "Mookie Betts promoted to Salem," SoxProspects.com, July 9, 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-30. News.soxprospects.com. Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  19. "Mookie Betts," SoxProspects.com. Retrieved April 29, 2014. Soxprospects.com. Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  20. Espn.com – Red Sox minor league leaders for 2013.
  21. "2013 Minor League All Star Team," Baseball America, September 12, 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-30. Baseballamerica.com. Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  22. Report: Hot Prospect Mookie Betts to Get Call-up to PawSox. Boston.com (June 3, 2014). Retrieved on June 3, 2014.
  23. Individual Stats (Batting). Milb.com. Retrieved on June 18, 2014.
  24. On Baseball: Mookie Betts’ on-base streak ends. Portland Press Herald (May 18, 2014). Retrieved on May 29, 2014.
  25. Mookie Betts starting in CF for Portland. Providence Journal (2014-05-18). Retrieved on 2014-05-19.
  26. Mookie Betts Streaks Through the Red Sox System. Boston Herald (2014-05-11). Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
  27. Dustin Pedroia second to none as face of Red Sox. Boston Globe (2013-11-18). Retrieved on 2014-04-30.
  28. "Red Sox promote OF Betts, send down RHP De La Rosa", ESPN.com, June 28, 2014. Retrieved on June 29, 2014.
  29. "Phenom Betts called up to Red Sox", MLB.com, June 28, 2014. Retrieved on June 29, 2014.
  30. Red Sox Prospects Mookie Betts, Henry Owens Selected To Futures Game NESN.com. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  31. "Betts hits big time on biggest stage", ESPN.com, June 30, 2014. Retrieved on July 1, 2014.
  32. "Offense erupts, but Workman, bullpen falter in loss", MLB.com, July 3, 2014. Retrieved on July 3, 2014.
  33. Victorino comes off DL looking to spark Sox MLB.com. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  34. Bradley Jr. sent to Pawtucket, Betts called up
  35. NESN.com – Mookie Betts hits first career Grand Slam at Tropicana Field (Video)
  36. Red Sox Notes: Mookie Betts, Anthony Ranaudo Shine In Win Over Rays (August 29, 2014). Retrieved on October 15, 2014.
  37. Retrosheet box score – Boston Red Sox 9, Washington Senators 4 (1). Game Played on Tuesday, August 24, 1965 (N) at Fenway Park.
  38. Doyle, Ricky (11 September 2014). Mookie Betts To Play Second Base For Red Sox With Dustin Pedroia Out. NECN. Retrieved on 14 September 2014.
  39. Mookie Betts. Retrieved on October 15, 2014.
  40. Mookie Betts; Fielding. Retrieved on October 15, 2014.
  41. "Spinners' Betts follows in big league uncle's footsteps. Eagletribune.com (June 18, 2012). Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  42. Terry Shumpert, 2b, Rays. Baseball America. Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  43. "Mookie Betts Streaks Through Red Sox System," Boston Herald, 2014-05-11. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
  44. "10 Questions with Sox prospect Mookie Betts". Csnne.com (July 16, 2013). Retrieved on April 30, 2014.

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