Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Although Mookie Betts took a step back defensively and at the plate in 2021 — likely due to his hip injury — the Los Angeles Dodgers’ right fielder still finished as a finalist for a Gold Glove Award.
Betts had his streak of winning the award snapped at five seasons but among National League right fielders with at least 750 innings, Betts’ 1.9 UZR was fifth-best and his -1.9 Defense also was superior to that of his fellow finalists.
This past season, Betts showed off all the skills that make him a great defender when he turned a double play against the Pittsburgh Pirates after making a great catch and spinning before making a perfect throw, which the DodgerBlue.com staff ranked as the No. 8 play of the 2021 season.
In the final game of the series at PNC Park with a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the second inning and a runner on third, Ka’Ai Tom hit a soft fly ball into right field that normally drops for a hit 63% of the time, according to Statcast.
Betts sprinted in and caught the ball about a foot off the ground to take away the hit, but he didn’t stop there.
Without any hesitation, Betts spun around 360 degrees to get his body pointing toward home plate and fired a strike to Austin Barnes while his momentum was still carrying him toward the first-base dugout.
HOW DID MOOKIE BETTS MAKE THIS DOUBLE PLAY LOOK SO EASY pic.twitter.com/OYK2LC2I9z
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) June 10, 2021
Erik Gonzalez was heading in to score but the ball reached the plate just as he was beginning to slide and Barnes was able to put the tag on him in time for the out.
It was the type of play that highlights Betts’ unique skillset and will be remembered for a long time.
In the first inning of the game, Betts also put the Dodgers on top with a leadoff home run. His contributions on offense and defense made him the star of the game in a 6-3 victory to finish off the series sweep.
Top Dodgers plays from 2021
No. 8: Mookie Betts completes 360-degree spin double play
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