Will Middlebrooks Looks to Continue Success
Had you told me last April that Will Middlebrooks would be the 2013 starting third baseman for the Red Sox, my first question would have been: Will who?? In a disastrous 2012 season for the Red Sox, one of the few bright spots was the emergence of the third baseman who hit .288 in 75 games for Boston.
Middlebrooks got an opportunity in the big leagues after Youkilis went down at the beginning of May with an injury, and Middlebrooks showed the club he was ready and worthy to be a full time big leaguer. His good play led to the Red Sox trading Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox in mid June, and Middlebrooks took over the permanent starting duties for the Red Sox.
Even in the dog days of August, Middlebrooks was producing for a Red Sox team that had given up in early April, and was having one of the most productive rookie seasons in Red Sox history until he broke his wrist on August 11th when he was hit by a pitch.
Along with hitting .288 in 75 games, Middlebrooks also had 15 homeruns and 54 RBI’s. Had he not been injured, it would have been interesting to see what kind of numbers he would have finished the season with. Nonetheless the focus is on the 2013 season which is a much needed fresh start for the Red Sox organization.
This season Middlebrooks will be the starter at third base so there will no controversy over who gets the start. That was a problem the Red Sox, and then manager, Bobby Valentine had to deal with once Youkilis had come back from the disabled list. All reports indicate that Middlebrooks is completely healthy and ready to go in 2013.
It will be interesting to see if Middlebrooks can hit for the same power he did last year especially since the Red Sox seem to be a team lacking power hitting, and if he can be as clutch as was last year. It’s funny to think any Red Sox player was clutch last season, but Middlebrooks seemed to give it his all up until his injury.
In a series against the Rangers in August he tied up a game late with a three-run homerun, but of course the Red Sox ended up losing that game. The very next day with the Red Sox trailing the Rangers again by 3 Middlebrooks came up to pinch hit with 2 runners on. He sent a curveball over the Green Monster to tie that game. Were the Red Sox able to win that game: of course not.
Middlebrooks has advanced to the Major League level very quickly as he started the 2011 season in Single-A. By the end of the 2011 season he had been called up to Double-A Portland, and then to Triple-A Pawtucket. There’s no reason to think Middlebrooks production was a fluke last year, and with a better team around him, and a less toxic clubhouse, the potential for the 24 year old ranges all the way to the sky.
As for the player Middlebrooks replaced; he’s now hated in Red Sox nation, and next time he’s playing third base at Fenway, He’ll be wearing pinstripes.