Mookie Betts' power outburst shines spotlight on Boston's young stars, again

This has been an outstanding year for Boston’s group of young stars. Center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr., who has a .324 average, fashioned a 29-game hitting streak that ended on May 26. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who is hitting .350, had a 26-game streak snapped on June 3. Third baseman Travis Shaw has 28 extra-base hits and an .851 OPS.  And then we get to Mookie Betts, the 23-year-old star who turned in back-to-back jaw-dropping performances last week. On May 31, Betts hit three home runs in a win against AL East rival Baltimore, and then on June 1, he popped two more homers in the Orioles’ home park.  (SN Illustration // Riley Meek) MORE: Every team's biggest draft regret Let’s add a little historical perspective to that power show.• No player has ever hit more than five homers in back-to-back games. That number has been reached many times over the years, but never more than five (Cardinals legend Stan Musial and Padres slugger Nate Colbert are the only two to hit five on the same day, in double-headers in 1954 and 1972, respectively);• Betts homered in the first and second innings both days. He’s the first player in the history of baseball to do that. Think about that. It’s truly amazing;• Betts, who was hitting leadoff both days, became the first leadoff batter in Red Sox history to hit three home runs in a single game. Amazing, right? But it’s not like this was an out-of-nowhere performance for Betts. After he hit 18 homers with a .291 average in his first full season in the bigs, he already had nine homers before that outburst, bringing his total to 14 for the season. Betts is batting .289 on the season, with an .881 OPS, those 14

homers, 45 RBIs, nine stolen bases, an AL-best 53 runs scored and four triples. Did we mention he’s just 23? And Bogaerts is 23? And Bradley and Shaw are 26?Yeah. It’s been an outstanding year for Boston’s group of young stars.