Dave Roberts Makes His Decision, Opinion on Mookie Betts' Position Change Clear

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Mookie Betts (50) throws to first.
Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Mookie Betts (50) throws to first. / Michael Chow/The Republic / USA TODAY
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On March 8, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts indicated that Mookie Betts's move to shortstop in spring training was "permanent, for now."

Now, it doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility that Betts's move will be "permanent, forever."

Roberts heaped praise on Betts for his play at shortstop so far after the Dodgers' 8-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday.

“Right now, where (Betts) is at, I certainly think he’s playing an above average shortstop,” Roberts said. “I’d grade him out a solid B+. It’s hard to imagine me even saying that... given that he started not playing the position. So it’s really, really impressive and only going to get better.”

Even by Betts's lofty standards, his start to 2024 has been special. Last year's runner-up in the NL MVP voting is slashing .377/.481/.623 with six home runs and 25 RBIs. He leads the majors in batting average, on-base percentage, runs, hits, walks and total bases.

“I’m trying to wrap my head around any comparable—as far as on the hitting side, the (defensive) side. I haven’t seen it. You’re talking about a complete position change," Roberts said. "To play it at a high level at that position, I just haven’t seen it.”

Baseball Reference has Betts at third in defensive WAR, behind only Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte and St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Masyn Winn.

Patrick Andres


Patrick Andres has been a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated since 2022. Before SI, his work appeared in The Blade, Athlon Sports, Fear the Sword, and Diamond Digest. Patrick has covered everything from zero-attendance Big Ten basketball to a seven-overtime college football game. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.