The Red Sox have promoted second baseman Mookie Betts to the Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston’s Triple-A team, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports.
The promotion comes as little surprise considering Betts’s recent success with Double-A Portland. Playing as the fourth youngest player in the Eastern league, Betts, 21, slashed to a .355/.443/.551 line over the course of 54 games and 253 plate appearances. He ranked second in league in stolen bases (22), walks (35) and doubles (18), fifth in OPS (.994), and first in runs (56) and hits (76).
Prior to the season, Betts was ranked by Baseball America as the 75th best prospect in baseball and the seventh best in the Red Sox system.
Betts began the season at second base, where he played in 2013 and most of 2012, but the Red Sox have gradually moved him to centerfield in recent weeks. In light of Major League centerfielder Jackie Bradley‘s continued struggles – he has a .283 On Base Percentage and .583 OPS through 191 plate appearances – the move has led to speculation that Boston could be prepping Betts for a big league promotion and a starting outfield job.
Abraham reported that GM Ben Cherington attempted to diffuse the speculation, but Boston manager John Farrell told ESPN reporters tuesday that “you can’t rule out” a potential call up for Betts at some point this season. Cherington also indicated that Betts would get playing time in left and right field for Pawtucket. If the young prospect is promoted this summer, he could just as well be asked to fill in at those positions. Current Boston corner outfielders Johnny Gomes and Grady Sizemore are hitting a meek .229 and .226, respectively. Fourth outfielder Daniel Nava has been no better, with a .130 average and .455 in 77 at bats. And the recently called up Alex Hassan was hitting .218 with a .621 OPS in Triple-A before his promotion.