It is no secret that Mookie Betts is one of the most athletic superstars in all of Major League Baseball. Whether it be at the plate, in the field, or even in the bowling alley, the Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder has a knack for making people's jaws drop.
Betts is showcasing his versatility more already in the 2023 season. With the infield down a player because of Gavin Lux's torn ACL, Betts has started two of LA's five games at second base. This is the position that Betts originally played and, prior to this season, he had only started 11 total games at second while in LA.
While it has been fun to see, this might not be the best use of Betts' talent by the Dodgers. Betts brings incredible value as a Gold Glove outfielder, and that is simply more important than his impact at second base. If that wasn't enough of a reason to keep Mookie primarily in the outfield, his near-nightmare collision with Jason Heyward on Tuesday night should be.
Dodgers are in a tough spot with Mookie Betts at second base.
Mookie ultimately got up from the collision and told reporters that he was fine after the game, but it still is something that could hamper him in some capacity for the next few weeks. The Dodgers' superstar said he rolled up on his ankle, and it was a similar feeling to when you roll your ankle in a game of basketball.
Not the most serious injury in the world, but still something that could have been avoided entirely.
Collisions like this can still happen in the outfield, and there absolutely is the possibility of Betts getting hurt on a fluke play while in right field. That being said, Betts also has the familiarity of playing hundreds of games in right field, and has more feel in situations like this when two players are barreling toward each other.
There are also more opportunities for contact in the infield. Betts has to deal with baserunners at second base, and the infield dirt can be less forgiving than the outfield grass. These are all small things, but those small things can create a big situation for LA.
The Dodgers have gone through this exact same situation before. Los Angeles stopped playing Cody Bellinger at first base after he dislocated his non-throwing shoulder diving for a ball in 2019. The outfield was a safer place for Bellinger, and this collision might remind the Dodgers of that reality for Betts.
Plus, the Dodgers have a second base depth option if they want to go that route. Michael Busch tore the cover off the ball in spring training, and could provide a left-handed presence who plays second. Sure, he would not get consistent at-bats right away, but at some point, the 25-year-old has to get an MLB shot.