Mookie Betts set to add shortstop eligibility for 2024

ByTristan H. Cockcroft ESPN logo
Saturday, March 9, 2024

Mookie Betts might have fallen four appearances shy of the requisite 20 to retain shortstop eligibility entering 2024, but the news Friday that he'll switch positions with Gavin Lux, a move that Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called "permanent, for now," gives Betts an outstanding chance at quickly recapturing that eligibility. Betts is expected to serve as the team's Opening Day shortstop, after Lux struggled with both his defense and throws from the position during the early stages of spring training.

Betts, an outfielder (specifically right field) and second baseman for now, will need 10 appearances at shortstop in order to earn in-season eligibility, after failing to make either the 20 total appearances or appear in at least 25% of his total games at shortstop in 2023. Still, the switch gives him good odds of reclaiming shortstop eligibility, to add to outfield and second base after the Dodgers' 10th game of the season on Friday, April 5. If Betts plays shortstop regularly through that date and there are no rainouts, he'll become eligible to be slotted there beginning with the team's April 6 game against the Chicago Cubs.

From a rankings perspective, Betts' stock doesn't change much for points leagues. Already my No. 4 overall pick, his only gain from playing shortstop is additional roster flexibility, as he provides his greatest value over replacement at second base, where the free agent pool is projected to be thinner (likely by as many as 25-30 points). Betts is now a more competitive member of my top four, beside Ronald Acuna Jr., Juan Soto and Gerrit Cole, strengthening his No. 4 overall ranking status.