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Buck Showalter on Mookie Betts: ‘He’s the best right fielder I’ve ever seen’

Vincent Frank
Feb 13, 2017; Lee County, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts (50) runs on the field during reporting day for pitchers and catchers at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Having been in Major League baseball as a coach for more than a quarter-century, Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter knows a thing or two about baseball. He remains one of the longest-tenured managers in the game, taking on his first gig in that role with the New York Yankees back in 1992.

When Showalter talks about baseball, we probably should listen. When he heaps praise in the direction of a rival AL East player, we should definitely take Buck’s word for it. Recently, the longtime Orioles manager threw said praise in the direction of Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts. And it’s no small thing.

“I’ve told anyone who will listen. He’s (Betts) the best right fielder I’ve ever seen in person. The dynamic he creates for them defensively in right field at Fenway is a big advantage for Boston,” Showalter said, via Mike Lupica of MLB.com. “Special player. Game changer. The term five-tool player is used loosely. But it aptly describes him. One of my most favorite players in our game.”

About that. Betts has earned a Gold Glove in the outfield each of the past two seasons. He covers more area in right field than any other player in the game today. In fact, he’s comparable to prime Ichiro Suzuki in that regard. Though, according to Showalter, Betts provides more for Boston than Suzuki did in Seattle during his run of winning 10 consecutive Gold Gloves to start his career.

Never really mentioned among the game’s best young players, the 25-year-old Betts continues to fly under the radar. Not only is he an elite defensive talent, the former fifth-round pick does his thing at the plate. Over the course of the past two seasons, Betts is hitting .292 with an average of 28 homers and 108 RBI.