Welcome to part three of the annual Dodgers Nation player grades and season reviews, this time for the 2022 season. Up next in the series is L.A.’s leadoff hitter and spark plug, Mookie Betts. Check out Trea Turner in part one here and Freddie Freeman in part two here.
After being hobbled by a hip injury for most of 2021, causing him to miss 40 games and hampering his effectiveness when he was playing, Mookie Betts returned at full strength in 2022 and reminded us that he’s one of the best players in baseball.
Betts won his sixth Gold Glove in right field, leading all right-fielders in Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved. Oh yeah, and he also hit 35 homers and posted a 136 OPS+, good for 6.4 bWAR and 6.6 fWAR.
In addition to his sixth Gold Glove, Mookie made his sixth All-Star team and won his fifth Silver Slugger, finishing in the top five in MVP voting for the fourth time. Batting in front of Trea Turner, Freddie Freeman, and Will Smith, Betts tied for the NL lead with 117 runs scored.
Fan Vote Results
Dodger fans took to Twitter to give Betts a grade for his 2022 season in Los Angeles. Here are the results:
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) November 22, 2022
Of the 1.471 fans who voted, 54.4% gave him a B, while 35.6% awarded him with an A. Just 1.2% of fans gave him an F, while 8.9% gave him a C. Overall, fans were pleased with Mookie’s performance in 2022, as one of the key contributors to the Dodgers’ 111-win season.
Dodgers Nation Take
It kind of shows how high the expectations are for Betts that a 6.5 WAR only earns him a B, but when you’ve won an MVP and finished second twice, the bar is set pretty high. If we could do plusses and minuses, I’d probably go with a B+ for Mookie, but a B sounds about right given the options.
The main drawback on Mookie was his streakiness. There were times he looked like the best hitter in baseball, and there were times he really struggled. He also finished pretty poorly, posting just a .638 OPS over the last four weeks of the season and then a .492 OPS in the postseason.
In 2022, Mookie reminded us how good he can be when he’s healthy. Hopefully he reminds us next year that he can be even better.
Mookie has 10 years left on the mega-deal he signed with Los Angeles the day before the 2020 season began. His supporting cast might look a little different in 2023, with the guy who bats after him — Trea Turner — likely leaving in free agency and the guy who plays next to him in the outfield — Cody Bellinger — having been non-tendered, but Mookie will be at the top of the L.A. lineup again next year and for many years in the future.
If a 136 OPS+, a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger, and a top-five MVP finish only get him a B, we can’t wait to see his A-game next year.
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