In the eyes of the mortals among whom he walks, Mookie Betts has nothing left to prove.

The MVP he won last year was an unnecessary but welcome affirmation that, besides Mike Trout, the best player in baseball plays right field for the Red Sox.

Both mentally and physically, his baseball acumen over the last three seasons has kept intensifying and accelerating. You can’t find doubters anywhere in baseball about the historic heights Betts could reach over the next decade. The only looming question concerns his fans here, who should be concerned about whether or not the Red Sox will be able to re-sign him before or after he reaches free agency at the end of next season.

Like a parent who can’t get to sleep before his or her teenager slips the key in the lock late on a weekend night, that worry with Betts is not going to evaporate. But we’d all be better off not to obsess ourselves with the threat of a Betts-less Red Sox team.

The reality is he’s still here, and we’d all best enjoy the delightful show that comes with watching the usually smiling Betts at the plate, in the outfield, on the basepaths and in the dugout. Let’s spend these two wonder years considering positive outcomes, such as if last year’s performance was the best Betts can be.

If it was the best and he can only approach it without quite topping it, nobody will, or should, complain.

And if it wasn’t his best, nobody should be surprised, because baseball players like Betts just don’t come around so often.

And as good as Betts played, he thinks he can be better.

Who’s to doubt him?

Manager Alex Cora, who is going to bat Betts second this season instead of leadoff, can imagine further greatness from Betts – but it takes a very active imagination to get there.

“That’s a hard question, it’s like, if Trout’s going to be better? – I don’t know, maybe,” said Cora during spring training. “They’re special. You never know. He believes in what he’s doing. I was telling him the other day that the difference to last year, he picked up this swing halfway through spring training. This year he understands his moves and what he has to do to get back on track for when he slumps – I guess, whatever that’s called for him, the 0-for-5, I guess. He understands a little more about himself. I do feel he was in a great spot last year for what we needed, leadoff guy, but I do feel (batting second) is the perfect fit for him as far as more opportunities with men on.”

Betts drove in 80 runs last season, a drop by 33 and 22 from the previous years. He upped his other numbers across the board and by a wide margin, with a slash line of .346/.438/.640, plus 32 home runs and 30 stolen bases.

Even if we subtract his new spot in the batting order from the Betts equation, it still feels as if he can get better. He is reaching his peak baseball years. Because the greatest athletes contain some overflow of competitive drive that helps them get the most out of their talent both in training and in games, Betts wants more.

Everything came together for him last season, but there’s still somebody to chase – in his case, Trout, who has a pair of MVP awards and reached his supposed peak at an earlier age than Betts did. He understands that sustained excellence will be the marker by which his career greatness will be judged.

The MVP award counts, says Betts, but it should be a harbinger of more to come than the culmination of a dream.

“Personally, it just means that you put in a lot of work and it showed, it showed during the season,” said Betts. “You don’t get to where you are by just sitting on your butt and expecting it to come. I worked hard to get to where I am and I’m continuing to get better and better. So I know and understand that. In order to be great, you have to continue to put in the work. I had a good year. In order to be great, you have to have a bunch of good years.”

It’s not that easy for anybody to pinpoint where Betts can improve his game. He uses abstract thought to describe what that will be like.

“There’s a bunch of things – just being consistent,” said Betts. “Obviously you’re going to have your ups and your downs, but the more ups I can have and the quicker the downs are, the better I’ll be. I did a pretty good job with that last year. So I have to do it again. It’s tough to do again. So I have to work and continue to put in the work to be the best that I can be.”

Cora has little doubt Betts’ work will pay off.

“Numbers-wise, he’s going to have more opportunities to drive in runs – we’re not going to slow him down, he’s a potential 30-30 guy, which is important for us in an era where people don’t believe in stolen bases and all that,” said Cora. “He wants to be great, which is a cool thing. Defensively, he was outstanding last year and he works at it. He’s relentless, let’s put it that way.

“In the press conference, I remember, when he got the MVP, he started taking about 2019 right away, which kind of like is what we want, we’re trying to accomplish something great here, and he’s a huge part of that.”

The last great Red Sox hitter was David Ortiz. He has the best sense about what Betts is all about.

“Mookie, Mookie, he doesn’t want to be good, he wants to be perfect – that’s what makes him so good,” said Ortiz. “He wants to be perfect. That kid when he first got here, I don’t know if he learned a lot from me, but I learned a lot more from him because his mentality is like a (Dustin) Pedroia-type of mentality. The five-tool type of guys, 6-4 that you are expecting, but ‘I’m coming in hard, and I’m going to give you everything that I have, being who I am.'”