The Red Sox proved last season with Xander Bogaerts that they were willing to move quickly with their best prospects. So the news on Tuesday that 21-year-old Mookie Betts was promoted to Triple A Pawtucket should come as no surprise.
Betts hit .355 with a .443 on-base percentage for Double A Portland. He had more walks (35), extra-base hits (27) and stolen bases (22) than strikeouts (20) over 54 games. He is a career .311/.406/.463 hitter in four seasons and had a streak of 71 consecutive games reaching base safely that ended earlier this season.
Betts is a second baseman but has played 12 games in center field in recent weeks and will continue with that progression. Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said on May 26 that Betts also would get some games in right field and left field.
Cherington played down the idea that Betts would help the major league team this season. But the righthanded hitter could put himself in position to help the Red Sox in left field or in a utility role. That he is now playing center field presents a clear challenge to Jackie Bradley Jr.
Worth noting: Bogaerts played 56 games in Double A last season then 60 games in Pawtucket before being promoted to the majors.