Dodgers News: Mookie Betts Explains ‘Pure Instinct’ Of Robbing A Home Run

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Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Mookie Betts is one of the best hitters in MLB, but his offensive ability combined with elite defensive ability is what puts him in the superstar tier of players, and makes him a likely future Hall of Famer.

Although he began his professional career as a second baseman, Betts was moved to the outfield in the Boston Red Sox organization because he was blocked by Dustin Pedroia. The position change worked out well as Betts has won six Gold Glove awards, including one last season for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and was named the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year in 2016.

Despite his 5’9 frame, Betts has also made a knack for robbing home runs, including his most memorable moment in the 2020 National League Championship Series to take a homer away from his future teammate, Freddie Freeman.

When asked about his ability to rob home runs, Betts said it really just comes down to instinct, via Manny Randhawa of

“There’s just so much to it,” said six-time Gold Glove Award-winning right fielder Mookie Betts. “You can’t teach it. … Timing up your steps early enough is key. It’s very hard to do. I would say a majority of it is just pure instinct.”

Another one of Betts’ memorable home run robberies came in 2015 when he made a leaping catch at Fenway Park to take away a homer from Chris Davis and end the game.

Although Betts said it’s not really something you can work on, the right fielder did share some of the split-second decisions that need to be made to successfully make the catch:

“Once you get back there, you’ve gotta decide,” Betts said. “Are you gonna jump off one foot or two feet? Are you gonna jump into the wall or are you gonna jump and try to reach over the wall? Your jump is gonna depend on your timing.”

Last season, Betts was in the 86th percentile of outs above average and outfielder jump, and the 79th percentile of arm strength. It was a step back from his previous marks when he was with the Red Sox, but they still place him among the game’s best defenders.

Overall, Betts led all NL right fielders in Total Zone Rating (31), and was second in Ultimate Zone Rating (12.5), Outs Above Average (5) and Defensive Runs Saved (15). Furthermore, he was a leader in SABR Defensive Index (SDI) through August 28, with 11.19.

Mookie Betts among Dodgers in WBC

Dodgers pitchers and catchers who are participating in the 2023 World Baseball Classic reported Monday ahead of the start of Spring Training at Camelback Ranch. The group included Austin Barnes (Team Mexico), Liam Doolan (Team Australia), Clayton Kershaw (Team USA), Adam Kolarek (Team Israel), Julio Urías (Team Mexico) and Will Smith (Team USA).

As for their position players who are participating in the WBC, they must report by Thursday, which includes Betts, who is representing Team USA.

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