Will Middlebrooks Third Baseman of the Future for Red Sox
There has already been some debate this off-season as to whether Kevin Youkilis might be traded or not, but WEEI shot down that report. A legitimate question is whether or not he is the third baseman of the future? Youkilis’ contract expires in 2014, but the Sox have a team option for 2013. After this season, Youkilis can be a free agent.
This is where current Pawtucket third baseman Will Middlebrooks comes in. In this writer’s eyes he is third baseman of the future of the Red Sox, and will be starting opening day of 2013.
Everything is set up perfectly for Middlebrooks. He started last season with AA Portland, and was promoted in August to Pawtucket. He will begin the 2012 season with Pawtucket. It is very possible for him to be one of the team’s September call ups and get his feet wet in the big leagues next September.
That sets up next off-season, when the Red Sox will have a team option for Youkilis. With Middlebrooks being major league ready it would be a mistake to let Youkilis stay when Middlebrooks is the third baseman of the future.
Middlebrooks was drafted in the fifth round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft. This season with Pawtucket he struggled in the month he spent with the team, but to his defense he was getting used to AAA. He hit .161 with two home runs and eight RBIs.
He did have a monster year with AA Portland. In 96 games he hit .302 with 18 home runs and 80 RBIs. He accumulated many accolades this season. He played in the All-Star Futures Game in Arizona before the MLB All-Star game, he was a Double-AA Eastern League All-Star, and was the top hitting prospect in the Eastern League according to Baseball America.
This fall Middlebrooks was named to the Arizona Fall Leagues All-Star Game, but he will not be playing as he suffered a sprained left thumb, and will be forced to miss the rest of the fall season. He is scheduled to be ready for spring training.
Playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions, Middlebrooks hit .250 with four home runs and had a .818 OPS this fall.
With how injury prone Youkilis is, and how much money is likely to be given to him in next contract, and Middlebrooks’ development, the Red Sox with a decision next off-season. Bring back Youkilis, or move on to the future and let Middlebrooks start? If it’s up to me, Middlebrooks is the 2013 starting third baseman of the Boston Red Sox. Mark it down.
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