First, the organization traded a package of elite prospects to the Boston Red Sox to acquire Betts back in 2020, then the Dodgers committed $365 million to the former MVP to keep him with the team until 2033.
The 2020 season was Betts’ first with the Dodgers, and it was a massive success.
The team won its first World Series title since 1988, and Betts was a key part of the run.
On that basis alone, his time with the team has already been a success.
However, he got off to a slow start in the 2021 season, and some fans were worried that the 28-year-old was having a contract hangover.
That narrative is dead today.
Betts looks like his best self again, and he is still the best player on a Dodgers team that is absolutely loaded with talent.
Is this real life?
No you are not dreaming. That really is Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler and Mookie Betts hanging out in the Dodgers dugout.
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) August 1, 2021
Let’s take a look at his 2021 season.
A Tale Of Two Halves For Betts In 2021
On June 12, he was batting .248 with a .797 OPS.
Of course, those numbers would be an accomplishment for many MLB players, but Betts isn’t one of them.
Baseball fans are used to seeing him near the top of most statistical categories, and that was not the case for several months this season.
However, since that aforementioned June 12 date, Betts has gone on a tear.
He is batting .321 with a 1.065 OPS, nine homers, seven doubles,xtr and a triple over 29 games since that date.
His overall numbers on the year have shot up to .272/.376/.509.
He also has a 141 OPS+ and a 3.6 WAR.
His OPS on the year has not dipped below .800 since he began that 29-game tear, and the Dodgers are finally getting the player that they missed so badly to start the year.
Mookie Betts Blast.
Will he have a big second half? 👀 pic.twitter.com/03xHmOooak
— MLB (@MLB) July 18, 2021
No Reason To Believe That Betts’ Early Struggles Will Reoccur
If you’re expecting Betts’ early struggles to become a reoccurring issue, you’re going to have to look elsewhere.
The five-time All-Star has one of the best track records in baseball, and his cold spells never seem to last long.
Further, even when Betts is struggling offensively, he’s still a productive player.
His elite outfield defense is largely to thank for that.
Value statistics (like WAR) have been high on Betts all season long, even when things weren’t going great for him at the plate.
Let’s take a look back at some of Betts’ past seasons.
At his best, he’s an MVP candidate.
He even won the award back in 2018.
That year, he batted .346 with a 1.078 OPS, 32 home runs, and a ridiculous 10.7 WAR.
At his worst, he’s an All-Star.
The 2017 season was arguably Betts’ worst at the MLB level, and that says a lot, because it was still an extremely solid, All-Star-caliber campaign.
He batted .264 with an OPS of .803, 24 home runs, and a 6.4 WAR.
Point is, you’re never going to get an unproductive season from Betts, so if you’re expecting his early struggles in 2021 to be a sign of what’s in store down the road, expect to be proven wrong.