Putting Mookie Betts' potential career year with Dodgers into context

Los Angeles Dodgers v Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Dodgers v Texas Rangers / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

After a very good 2022 campaign, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts has enjoyed a great 2023 thus far.

Despite what some may see as a less-than-stellar trade deadline, Betts has given Dodgers fans reasons to remain optimistic.

At the time of this article, Betts is slashing .279/.383/.568 and has already collected 28 home runs, 65 walks, 69 RBI, and an All-Star nod.

Given the 30-year old is experiencing a career year that could see him set a new personal high in home runs, it’s worthwhile to “check-in” and see just how he’s been able to erupt.

According to Baseball Savant, Betts ranks in the 100th percentile in terms of chase rate and the 86th percentile for strikeout percentage. On a rudimentary level, the Tennessee native is not an easy out for any opposing pitcher.

He does not make a habit of chasing pitches outside of the strike zone, and rarely strikes out without a fight. Discipline is becoming a lost art form in today’s game, but Betts has managed to remain steadfast in his approach.

Perhaps the most impressive part about Betts’ 2023 season so far has been his power numbers. In addition to bashing 28 home runs, the former fifth-round pick also has the seventh-best slugging percentage in baseball.

He ranks in the 82nd percentile in terms of barrel percentage and the 83rd percentile in terms of hard hit percentage. These marks are particularly fascinating since Betts is not a pure power hitter. For comparison, New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso’s hard hit percentage ranks in the 48th percentile, and his barrel percentage currently sits in the 92nd percentile. Betts holds a more impressive hard pit percentage, which could indicate he’s taking more competitive swings and not just searching for a particular spot.

All of Betts' offensive numbers have come alongside his dynamic play in the field. He's been asked to spend time at both second base and shortstop this season. He's not a Gold Glove-caliber infielder (yet), but his willingness to play where he's needed is a trait that has served the Dodgers well.

All things considered, Betts’ 2023 has been a superb addition to his already packed resumé. If he continues to play at such a high level, the Dodgers will figure to be particularly hard out this October, even if they are not an absolute juggernaut.