As the season winds down, the National League MVP award stays up for grabs. Right now it’s a two man race between Ronald Acuna of the Braves and Dodgers superstar Mookie Betts.
Cases could be made for both players to win the award as they are both in the top 3 of most major offensive statistical categories. According to Dodgers general manager Brandon Gomes though, he believes Betts has the edge for his versatility.
“From our standpoint, his ability to play multiple positions speaks volumes,” Gomes said. “It has allowed us to get both of our corner outfielders — both (Jason) Heyward and (David) Peralta — into the lineup with regularity. … (Plus), if there’s a really tough lefty, we can hit one of our right-handed-hitting infielders, and we can kick (Betts) back out to right field, and we don’t miss a beat, defensively.”Via The Athletic
Betts has played a multitude of positions on the diamond this year. He’s played a career high in games at second base and continued his elite defense at right field. With a crowded outfield, it has made sense for Dave Roberts to keep moving Mookie around.
One of the most useful positions Betts has played is at shortstop. Before the season Betts never played the position. With some convincing to Roberts, Betts has played 16 games there.
When playing the shortstop position, Betts has been one of the Dodgers’ best offensive threats to play the position.
“Prior to making some of the moves we did, we really didn’t have another shortstop,” Gomes said. “So for Mookie to go play shortstop at at least an average level, in addition to second and right field, really helped us keep our heads above water until we could get some reinforcements.”Via The Athletic
Currently Betts only completion is Acuna for the award. The Braves outfielder is currently first in the league in on base percentage, OPS, runs scored, stolen bases and hits.
Betts is top five in all those categories but has a higher WAR on the season than Acuna.
Gomes thinks that even though Acuna may have the stats over Betts, the Dodgers star should still receive the award.
“You could argue passionately, if you’re just looking at statistics, both sides,” Gomes said. “You could say that Mookie definitely should have it, Ronald definitely should have it, and then adding that (versatility) layer on Mookie’s side, it just felt like it was an important piece for people to understand and digest.”Via The Athletic
While there still is a week left to determine the MVP, it is going to be a photo finish between the stars of the two best teams in the National League.
Photo Credit: William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports
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