Mookie Betts has just missed the top 10 in Fangraphs' trade value rankings, coming in at #11, a full 22 spots ahead of teammate Xander Bogaerts.
Betts' placement comes on the back of a ZIPS projection that expects him to be a 26-win player over the five years he remains under team control. That's already a pretty extraordinary number--from 2010 to 2014, only nine position players can claim a better total--which becomes even extraordinary when you consider the fact that Fangraphs' version of WAR actually values Betts significantly less that that of Baseball-Reference.
Betts' ranking puts him one spot ahead of Joc Pederson, with Dave Cameron noting in an interesting heads-up battle between the two that Betts is the sort of player whose game should develop more gracefully than Pederson's over the next few years. Again, as good as Betts has been, there is room for him to be better still. The sky is, effectively, the limit, with a little extra power and some higher walk totals being not just possible, but entirely likely in the years to come. Hell, with a .676 slugging in the last month, the power is already coming into shape. Eventually pitchers will try to mitigate some of that, which is where the walks come in.
All this from a fifth-round pick. One who was, as recently as 2012, struggling to earn attention in Lowell. Back then, he might have been a throw-in for a significant trade centered around Will Middlebrooks or Matt Barnes. The kind of guy Paul DePodesta would've told Billy Beane to go after because he had a bunch of walks with his .658 OPS.
As with Bogaerts, none of this is terribly consequential for a Red Sox team that is looking to make Mookie Betts the next franchise cornerstone, and not by trading him away. Players like Betts simply don't come along very often, and the Red Sox can't simply open their wallets like they once could to snag a player like Mookie off the open market. These guys just don't hit free agency until they're in the last stages of their prime, with teams being more and more aggressive in locking them up early.
All the more reason, then, for the Red Sox to join them. "One Year Wonder" was on the table for Betts after 2013. After 2014 it was hard to imagine. After 2015, there's no doubting that he's for real. The clock has already struck midnight twice now since Betts broke out; this star is not about to turn back into a pumpkin. If the Sox will have some things to fix come November, priority number one should probably be making sure that Mookie is here to stay.