Ok first of all, I’m not here for any Mookie Betts slander, and I hope you aren’t either. Mookie is right at the top of an extensive list of athletes who have electrified the best sports city in the world for the last two decades, but just one depressing year of baseball after trading away the most valuable player in the American League the Red Sox are fun again and look like legitimate World Series contenders.
I was surprised that this number ended up being so low, but now that it's staring me in the face it makes plenty of sense. The team is doing so well at the halfway point of the season that it’s easy to look at guys who you might expect to qualify as being "better than Mookie Betts in 2021" like Renfroe or Verdugo with rose colored glasses because they’ve contributed to the success of the team, and it’s easy to target Mookie right now because he’s struggling to meet his unequivocally high standards through this point in the season. Renfroe (.264) and Dugie (.278) both have higher batting averages than Mookie (.256), and Renfroe has him beat in home runs and RBI as well. That being said, there’s a ton of stuff Mookie does for a team on the other side of the ball, and his OPS+ remains elite despite his low batting average, so although it’s easy to nitpick Mookie’s offensive output thus far he still would be worthy of being one of the best players on the Red Sox if you could just magically insert him on to the 2021 roster… wouldn’t that be nice.
As it turns out, the answer to the question titling this post is four. J.D. Martinez, Nate Eovaldi, Rafael Devers, and Xander Bogaerts are the four Red Sox players who have a higher WAR than Mookie, and it feels kind of unfair to have a pitcher in this conversation, so realistically it’s more like three. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s pretty impressive that they traded away the best player on the best team in franchise history and still have three hitters better than him, one of which just being a big kid who loves ice cream, and the only team with more position players with higher WAR than Mookie is… you guessed it… the Dodgers. Good for them.