Jun 28, 2014|
Mookie Betts will join the Red Sox in Yankee Stadium to make his big league debut on Saturday night. Three days before doing so (and one day before playing his first game in RF), Betts took stock of his unexpected, meteoric rise through the Red Sox farm system to the cusp of the big leagues in this interview with WEEI.com's Alex Speier for "Down on the Farm."
Transcript - will not be 100% accurate
Down in triple A Pawtucket talking to you now this is finally I've I think I've talked -- you know on Greenville. A touch you after Salem a target of Portland so. We're getting a lot of conversations in the short period of time but always have a different place. My personal congratulations on on the futures game. How cool is that. I think I mean you know I don't know significance of it but you know I know it's. Supposedly big gain and everything is just all star game so that is pretty it's pretty cool to be. Named NBA and in America's -- you know -- right so. I mean. You know you have now gone you've you've reached a point where you're getting a lot of recognition from a from a national standpoint right like -- on the cover baseball America right now. You're getting the futures game recognition there as you know there's a lot of dialogue about you know. And keep -- series you're kind of known name has that been a strange adjustment for you at any point. Started off the I mean I wouldn't expect in. Any any attention like like like I'm getting. But now I've kind of gotten used to -- it's all. Kind of been drawn on in the short short amount times I've. Had really no other choice but it kind of get used to it but still separate that from playing playing the game. Was there a point where it just became like. On a daily basis baseball as a routine oriented sport right end. You know you have to be pretty meticulous about how you approach your early work especially at a time. When your incorporating new position and all that kind of stuff was was the attention is getting ever kind of getting in the way of just. Of that natural routine or was that pretty easy to figure. Not mean in Portland that kind of it kind of was. For a little while give him alive because you know ask for any means and cosmonaut Clarence -- fill -- -- you know that went out for extra work in after BP did little extra and they were in for interviews so it it kind of did. Get in the way having -- him. Or simply based offers before. -- and hurt and hurt and I. How how is the new center field how is the transition there been going how comfortable do you feel just you know we've talked about a while earlier the fact that you've. For for a long time been going out during BP. Taking -- off the bat there but in game how natural position does that feel like for you now. I think I think it's it's pretty natural not gotten playing time there. You know I was just certain situations especially in the game you know up -- I'm now close game is -- situations that I'm that. Fully clear -- but you know -- and then it joppy in. He tells me -- it's what to do in the next and -- have an idea. As far as just known what to do lately Gaines you know naturally comfortable with it. In terms of just going after the ball how natural does that part comes. I think that's. I've the last in the easiest part that's. Fully natural just kind of have an idea of what all of them come down but I'm still takes them learn and now easier route to get involved. It's interesting because I always thought that it might be difficult for an outfielder making the transition to kind of you know exactly where to throw the ball you know where you know where your cut off is going to be the right basis to throw to. Brock COLT has done a really good job at the Major League level of of making that transition has asking. I think Tommy harper about that recently and he said. But now he knows exactly where the ball should go because he was the one who has jumped out -- his arms waving for. All of that time have you have you found it pretty easy to just you know instinctively know. I know where to go with the ball. Yeah I mean yeah again like my heart said I was the guy that's going to those spots I know. Where to throw up but I know where they're -- lineup but I mean. Still it's important you know they hit -- -- -- else would you know good strong -- and I think that's that's that's just in the learning part. So the other learning part you are as I said your transition into your fourth level now fifth if you count the Arizona Fall League in a very short period of time in. You know this is geez this is -- what Simon I'm trying to think this is. Fourteen months in which you played at at four different levels -- the AFL. Have you packed a suitcase. No. Now that's just think about that long ago that. Maybe not at this point but not too long ago was in -- you know touched here and I mean just African consulate pack and unpack in my cards than -- cars just jam packed as -- all the time. But I mean that's a blessing just to be able to go to the through all levels and now be at this point. So I want you to Tommy put the most significant transition is at every level that you've moved to because. It doesn't look from a performance -- doesn't look like there's there's been a hard adjustment for him right like. They're hitting the ground running each time you move up which is a credit to you. So I'm I'm just curious a to double its -- high when you went to Salem last year. What was most difficult part about just. So I just the pitching I -- Pitching gets better each day teaching every level. Another -- on the other side I mean they -- throw the ball over the plate no matter who's up there is you know. Still -- home placed -- -- white ball so you know that's that's pretty much alassane bit. Again credit to these pitchers means that you know you told there voting guys that know how to pitch. I mean it catches that -- out of what what what's gonna get guys out I think that's been the main the main difference. So when you go to hi Dave like -- you know I guess action when he gets a double play. Are you starting to experience -- game planning for you or trying to attack you in a specific way that hadn't really presented itself in a -- I was I was totally different story. It's aside from the fact that that was the time when you decided to hit 400 for a month for the first. Some. Nice yeah -- that I didn't I didn't notice that I'm and I'm sure they they did they did. But I mean I didn't. Really notice it until. Later later once. And struggled but you know and conformity and but I started noticing. Tendencies that they started doing that kind of picked up on that and that's while they would. So I'd be successful there hum. But -- Here in AAA. I don't really know what they've had they've they've pitching different each at bat. So. It's easy got to get no matter what advantage you gotta get a good pitched it and that's. That's the main idea loan for a game I've learned that experience that he may get three or four any games so. That's that's pretty much different. How do you explain that and the fact that you've been able to sustain the kind of numbers that have become familiar at this point you know through this transition to -- I have no idea I have no idea. How have done had the success that. But I just. Again just Chan development approach and sticking to it and just. Learn to believe in myself that that I belong out here and that not just these older guys and I just found out and say OK guys -- older. You know you go ahead you know I've been like I'm I'm not here I'm ready to play the same way you biases. It's it's interesting to hear you say that because you know we talked about how you're on the fence about whether not to sign out of high school right figuring out whether or not Q were you felt like you were prepared. To compete at that level. My guess there's probably a little bit of uncertainty when you're starting out lol about whether or not you -- going to be. Able to be at that level and then. You know when that went at it clicked for you that hey you know I don't care that I'm young like I'm going to be young at any level that I play -- still I still have an opportunity really get. -- Probably. Kind of Salem looks like at the Salem. Miles young I was young there but. You know they welcome -- this month we had great teammates and they welcome me -- open arms great coaches that they say go out there plays and we didn't plan. And I mean that's pretty much same thing I've taken each what was going on plane is gone I'm playing in this. Seen the one interesting thing is that you've been able to do really good job of controlling the strike zone and he -- you don't typically see right because. The quality of breaking balls the quality sequencing. Is gonna get better and better. Are you someone who thinks about what about the mechanics of your -- and what allows you to be able -- control the strike zone to have to avoid swings and misses -- Are you kind of operate are you someone who's more of an instinctive. Hitter who doesn't really need to break down -- the mechanics of your -- I think I'm kind of an instant instinctive hitter. I -- thing about it too much because I mean. Air right here right has right mechanics means nobody would be actually in right mechanics so. I thought the differences in your approaches then again pitch you swing -- -- You know what you can and of the best. You know which you can't go. Filling an important swing at pitches that you and of the things that I have done a pretty good job that I mean. Even when you don't swing it the pitches you can't handle that well I mean he just put it it's going on them you know something if it happens. I think that's the thing -- -- -- the -- was there ever a point where you realize so I just you know I just am able to read pitches out of pitchers and really quickly. Yeah I mean. Paid yet picking up picking up pitches quick it's huge it's -- -- and location. And that that in the tight beauty -- it is found out found it watching DT with keeping it TDs but it can happen. Working in the cage known that he can hit it you can and I feel like watching watching the big league hitters. You know they crushed a good pitch -- pitched over the -- you know those are always -- but. Since that they have a knack for hitting the bad pitches to -- I think that sometimes I get away with you know. Hidden hidden bad pitches -- elections is kind of a big thing in it too. -- do do that no idea he just I mean he -- Chester throwing pretty much I guess. When you got the word that they wanted to start playing some center field. How how exciting was that because I imagine it like it's like OK -- right now now this is you know. We've Hewitt talked Hewitt you've been well aware of the reality Dustin Pedroia going to be second baseman for the Red Sox until like 2300. -- blows up or something. You know was was that exciting or was there a little bit of like -- let's see how discussed. Us pretty much mean with the obvious goes because -- -- -- I can just go do -- -- -- they -- and they told him to play center field. Yeah I was just meaningless -- goes I don't know. But the plan is you know just haven't gotten play in and knock Tennessee cannot Tennessee you know. It was chosen to help me progress a little faster and but now I'm here you know he's still still trying to progressing and not not get complacent -- or where am. John Farrell turned a lot of people's heads over the weekend by. Just here's news asked a question about Andres Torres who is on a minor league assignment and role and he said I know -- Betts is played pretty well in the touch it. Howell you know when when word filtered back -- the fact that the Red Sox Major League manager is saying that he's he's monitoring what -- -- doing on the day to day basis. What does that mean to you. I guess just -- -- means he's watching I mean. I don't know PSAs stolen. In the movement up or move and move moving around moving guys around but. I mean again you know -- -- manager Red Sox but he's not in the front office that you know he he may not have much faith those. Let's say -- -- -- so I mean just but just to hear him say it you know it is a great feeling because I know that you know he's paying -- was going on minor leagues it. You can't take too much into it because again he's at the end it costs them now. Now that you have gotten with him when -- major leagues. How confident are you did you know they're the next transition is one that -- you can handle as well thumb. I don't know -- transition is the I don't know. What -- but that's what being ready for that level is but I'm but if I was to get the call you nargis again. I feel like -- Butterfield in in our means. And fair off those -- say go play the same way all the other managers say. In and then again at the solid do still play and figured out Ramon. When you are thinking about signing like guys have you know guys have goals in mind guys think about you know like my career might unfold this way -- that way. Did you have a and a timetable for yourself that you -- I wanna make it to the major leagues by. -- here by our cemetery and tax. You know when I signed. Again. I dual sport contracts of the five years. And I tell myself. And I'm gonna play just five years and get outs there's no way am going to be of the paint these guys come. But but once I've started seeing a little success and started seeing that I can play. I didn't really necessarily have a a timetable I just know on one and it may sooner and student sooner than later. When did you start to not only think okay have a chance to be big -- but I mean you know your putting yourself into by virtue of your performance. People you know there's a reason why you're getting this attention right like you know how what you think you're what -- what how would you describe your own potential at this point. I have I have. No idea on -- I mean it's. Getting to -- -- -- -- -- hard but I've talked to guys in this and it's not getting -- -- staying in the league so. Thumb getting there -- like a -- can get there at some point but. My experience there'll will determine you know whether I'm able to stay there and that's that that thing that's -- them. I'm excited to see -- you know. How I can affect how -- can play for a period of time in. Be able to step. How much do you enjoy the fact that your guy who can impact the game in a number of ways you know someone here there aren't a lot of guys in the minor leagues. Who hit you know who has many home runs as you do have the kind of extra base knocks you you still the number of bases you do. Get on base the way you do you know lately and and played -- -- Your defense also you know it's also been -- -- turner right certainly didn't change at second base didn't sounds like you've been making pretty seamless transition to center field. How much how much do you enjoy that idea that you can affect -- game and any number of course. Love -- I think. A -- be hidden but it affluent have been those that -- makes plays bound pitchers. Keep us in the game and I mean playing defense terrible when one day but. Popular and coming here and hit it and scored -- runs that team so. Even if this is getting on careers at the kicking game ran bases that are somewhat AFL and inspecting. It -- It feels great on that because of violent team down once -- back. Effectiveness effectiveness. So. Rookie you're going to be playing in not in a Major League ballpark when where the other side next month since the futures game is going to be in. In target field but I thought well see you. Are you. There are a lot of people who are falling and David Duke faces wondering is -- he gonna get because who can difficult do you if you asked herself that ever. Yeah I mean. That people -- -- you know. -- that tickets now with -- and I'm like you know I nightmares and night and there. You know I haven't. I'm really -- back home because you know big fan base really really appreciate what they have they been following mean watching these games and everything you know. I'm really appreciate that but hum. Yeah I've had the last asked about it I don't have. You know you can't fighter at times it. Now -- -- it -- days whenever whenever I get the Coughlin obviously. Awesome that you movie did it down.