Mookie Betts broke out in 2013, and seemingly out of nowhere. Sure, there were signs that he had some offense coming to his game even amid his early season struggles, but to the degree he ended up breaking out? No one was predicting that. For example, he finished 2013 by reaching base in his final 30 games of the season, and then in all five of the Salem Red Sox' playoff games as well.
So, he entered 2014 with 30 straight regular season games (and five postseason contests) in a row where he had successfully reached base one time. That streak is still ongoing, as Betts drew three walks and hit a double on Monday to reach the 50-straight regular season game threshold.
Betts hasn't just squeaked by to get to 50, either. Sure, he's had days where he made it on base just once, but the overall output from these 50 games should show you just how dominant he's been since August 2 of last summer. In the 225 plate appearances these 50 games include, Betts has hit .413/.480/.643 with 19 doubles, a pair of triples, and eight homers. He's also done plenty while on base, stealing 22 bases successfully in 25 tries. He's drawn 26 walks, with just one of them a hit by pitch and intentional pass each, meaning he's trotted to first 12 percent of the time during a stretch when he's also hitting over .400. Betts has also put the ball in play an absurd percentage of the time, as he's struck out just 17 times -- or 7.6 percent of the time -- during this 50-game stretch.
It's probably a good time to remind you that Betts did this/is doing this in his age-20 and age-21 seasons, between High-A and now Double-A. At Salem, he was about three years younger than your average position player, and at Double-A, he's 3.6 years their junior.
This is lengthy for an on-base streak, too. The longest in the majors last year came courtesy Michael Cuddyer at 46 games. In the last 10 years, just three big-league streaks have been lengthier, with two former Red Sox achieving the feat: Orlando Cabrera reached base in 63 consecutive games between April 25 and July 6 of 2006, while Kevin Millar managed 52 contests in 2007. An almost Red Sox managed the middle streak, with Alex Rodriguez getting to 53.
This is just major-league streaks, of course. There are often minor-league streaks of significant length -- Millar had one at 71 games in his own minor-league career, for instance, and Kevin Youkilis managed to tie that record while in the Red Sox system -- as well. Betts isn't quite to that level yet, but even if his streak ends when he tries to get to 51, there's no denying how fantastic he's been during this stretch.