- Full name Markus Lynn Betts
- Born 10/07/1992 in Nashville, TN
- Profile Ht.: 5'9" / Wt.: 180 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School John Overton
- Debut 06/29/2014
Drafted in the 5th round (172nd overall) by the Boston Red Sox in 2011 (signed for $750,000).
View Draft ReportBetts was the top signee for the embattled Tennessee program, which was headed for last place in the Southeastern Conference. He could be a college difference-maker for his hitting ability, speed and solid athleticism, the last of which helped him be an all-conference basketball player and the state's boys bowler of the year in 2010. The question was whether any of Betts' tools was a carrying tool. He's an above-average runner but not a true burner. However, he has good baserunning instincts, and his running ability should play in pro ball offensively. Some scouts believe the speed will play better defensively and want to shift him to cente rfield. Others believe his solid first-step quickness and quick-twitch athleticism give him a chance to stay in the infield, though more likely at second base than at short. He has some footwork issues to iron out to stay in the dirt. Betts has good hitting fundamentals and has excellent makeup and intangibles.
Organization Prospect Rankings
No one more significantly redefined his prospect status in the system in 2013 quite like Betts. Drafted as a multi-sport athlete (baseball, basketball, bowling), he showed a line-drive swing, good strike-zone judgment, speed and no power (zero homers) at short-season Lowell in 2012. That changed in 2013, when he showed improved patience and drove the ball for extra bases with startling frequency, first at low Class A Greenville then at high Class A Salem. Betts joined eight other minor leaguers with at least 15 homers and 30 steals in 2013. Though he has a sizable leg kick, Betts has the body control and athleticism to maintain balance, the quick hands to let the ball travel and the hand-eye coordination and bat speed to produce extra-base power. He shows a penchant for highlight-reel defensive plays at second base, and he has the athleticism and range for the Red Sox to consider shortstop and center field as possibilities. Betts' arm is better suited for the right side of the infield. He pairs above-average speed with good reads to steal bases at an excellent rate. With Dustin Pedroia signed for eight years, Betts' future with organization, barring a trade, is most likely at any position but the one he's playing. He appears headed for Double-A Portland in 2014.
Betts was a premium in-state recruit for Tennessee in 2011, but the Red Sox signed him away from college with a $750,000 bonus. In addition to his baseball prowess, he was also an all-conference basketball player and the Tennessee boys bowler of the year in 2010. After a brief taste of pro ball in 2011, he headed to short-season Lowell last season and played shortstop until 2012 draftees Deven Marrero and Mike Miller arrived. He shifted over to second and was much more confident there, and he ended up leading New York-Penn League second basemen in fielding percentage (.969). Betts is a gap-to-gap hitter with a short swing, good plate discipline and a good approach. He has an inside-out swing and doesn't offer much power, but he has gotten stronger and hit more hard line drives last season. He has added muscle since signing and has room to get stronger. Betts also has above-average speed and a quick first step that allows him to steal bases. The question is whether he has a true plus tool because he's not physical and doesn't really impact the ball. Betts had a good instructional league and is ready for full-season ball in 2013.
Minor League Top Prospects
Betts starred as a second baseman on his way up the minor league ladder, but with Dustin Pedroia locked in at the keystone in Boston, the Red Sox shifted Betts to center field when he reached Pawtucket in mid-June. He adjusted quickly and profiles as at least an average overall defender there. "Making the adjustment from the infield to the outfield shows what kind of an athlete (Betts) is," Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles said. "His ability to hit through the zone to all fields makes him a dangerous hitter, plus he's a threat on the basepaths." Betts' athleticism, above-average speed and elite on-base skills should make him a perfect fit as Boston's leadoff hitter. He makes the most of his diminutive frame by showing good patience with occasional power. His compact righthanded swing with above-average pitch recognition make him a tough out.
Continuing what he started last year at high Class A Salem, Betts a was force to be reckoned with from Opening Day until his promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket in early June. He took a rare combination of athleticism and instincts and showed he could play all over the diamond, initially at second base, then in center and right field when the need arose at midseason. Betts' offensive improvement was the result of eliminating his pitcher-like leg kick and opting instead for a more orthodox stride, as well as the addition of about 15 pounds of muscle thanks to improved strength training. The result was more sock behind the ball, more line drives sprayed to all sectors of the diamond, and a season-opening, 36-game on-base streak that lasted nearly all of his tenure with the Sea Dogs. Betts needed just a few weeks of tuneup time in the outfield before his supreme athleticism took over and the Red Sox deemed him ready for his first callup. He played center and right field capably for Boston, and EL evaluators agreed that no matter the position, Betts' future is very bright.
No one was more of a revelation in the SAL than Betts, a 5-foot-9 second baseman with surprising strength. ?He?s one of the better hitters I?ve seen this year,? a third NL scout said. ?He sees the ball so early and stays inside the ball very well.? Betts showed patience, power and speed in his half-season in Greenville before a promotion to high Class A Salem, which he helped to the Carolina League title. He?s not particularly physical, but his strong hands and wrists give him surprising strength. A former shortstop, Betts has found a home at second base, where he has solid range and good hands. He?s an above-average runner, but he?s an even better basestealer because he knows how to pick his spots and get good jumps. Betts has been successful on 88 percent of his career stolen base attempts, including 38 of 42 this year at two levels.
Betts arrived in Salem in early July, after Cecchini and Owens had moved up to Double-A, and he played a key role in the club?s run to the CL title. He hit .404 over his final 114 at-bats then added a .412 average in five postseason games. A patient hitter, Betts manages the strike zone and refuses to chase breaking balls off the plate. When he gets a pitch to hit, he uses a whip-like swing to drive balls to the gaps. He has plenty of pop for a player his size and could add more, as he sometimes sacrifices extension in his swing to stay inside the ball. ?You look at his frame and you wonder how he does it,? Salem?s McMillon said. ?It?s a combination of getting good pitches and a compact swing through the zone with some good bat speed.? Betts plays a solid second base, with soft hands, plenty of range and the ability to turn the double play. He?s an above-average runner with instincts that make him even more of a threat on the basepaths. He swiped 38 bases in 42 attempts between the South Atlantic and Carolina leagues. ?You can?t spin a breaking ball and get him to chase,? Carolina?s Wallace said. ?He will take a walk, and once he gets on first, it?s just a matter of time until he takes off.?
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive 2B in the Eastern League in 2014
- Rated Best Athlete in the Boston Red Sox in 2014
- United States activated RF Mookie Betts.