Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers saw their 2023 season end with getting eliminated in the National League Division Series for a second consecutive year.
Led by Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, the Dodgers boasted one best one-two combinations in Major League Baseball. The duo finished second and third, respectively, in the race for the National League MVP, only to have flat performances in the postseason.
Betts and Freeman combined to go 1-for-21 in the NLDS, playing a big part in the Dodgers suffering another early exit.
Betts now enters his fifth season with the Dodgers with an eye on avoiding a letdown in the playoffs and proving capable of succeeding in October, via SportsNet LA:
“I mean, really just to be the best Mookie Betts I can be. To go and show that I’m still good, that I can compete through the season and through playoffs. I know I didn’t do well obviously the last playoffs, and so I want to get back to where I can compete when it’s crunch time. And prove to everyone, but also prove to myself, that I can do it and I believe in myself, and that’s really it.”
Betts should benefit from playing a full season at second base, which is where his best offensive production came from last year. The veteran is still in the prime of his career, with experts already tabbing Betts as the best second baseman in the sport.
His largest hurdle will be getting over the recent playoff woes, as Betts has batted just .080 with just two hits in his last 25 postseason at-bats dating back to 2022.
How Mookie Betts can benefit from Shohei Ohtani
Betts’ 2023 season was the best of his career from a run producing standpoint. His record-breaking performance as a leadoff hitter was a surefire spark plug at the top of the Dodgers lineup.
His tenacity and red-hot streak pushed the Dodgers’ offense to a historic pace this past season. And now this year, the addition of Shohei Ohtani could be another overwhelming positive.
Betts’ 39 home runs from a year ago won’t be the overwhelming indicator of his success this season, but instead an ability to get on base should be the driving factor. In his MVP season with the Boston Red Sox in 2018, Betts posted a career-high .438 on-base percentage, a number that he approached in 2023 (.408).
Ohtani possibly batting in the second spot of the Dodgers lineup should provide Betts with even more of an opportunity to get on base. That would hold true even if Freddie Freeman is hitting second and Ohtani is slotted third.
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