Player Profile: So far, Will Middlebrooks‘s career has been marked by soaring highs and devastating lows. Entering his age 25 season, it will soon become clear just what type of player Middlebrooks is going to become.He’ll have great power regardless, but it is still unclear whether Middlebrooks will ever get on base enough to be an effective Major League third baseman. He has absolutely displayed that power in his career, as over 169 MLB games (660 plate appearances), he has already hit 32 home runs even at his young age. However, he has also shown tremendous struggles with strikeouts and a marked lack of walks. Defensively, Middlebrooks has not quite grown into his potential, as he has shown a tendency to make mistakes. However, he has a big arm and the potential to absolutely become an above-average defensive third baseman and with a few tweaks, could become a well above-average offensive one.
Oct 12, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks (16) hits a double during the eighth inning in game two of the American League Championship Series baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
2013 and Recent Past: While 2012’s .288/.325/.509 slash line displayed the soaring high in Middlebrooks’s career, the .227/.271/.425 slash line he showed in 2013 displayed the devastating lows. Middlebrooks got off to a horrendous start for the Red Sox and was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket after putting up a .192/.228/.389 slash line through the first two and a half months of the season. He spent the better part of two months down with the PawSox before being promoted after the trade of Jose Iglesias. After his promotion, Middlebrooks went on a tear and batted .322/.406/.475 in August, looking like he had fully vanquished the plate disciple problems which had plagued him in the early part of the year. However, his struggles re-surfaced towards the end of September and continued through the postseason, casting yet another shadow of doubt over his previously revitalized season.
2014 Outlook: The 2014 season will be Middlebrooks’s proving ground. It will show whether Middlebrooks is going to become 2010-2012 Mike Morse or become 2013 Mike Morse. Middlebrooks will make one of the more interesting story-lines surrounding the 2014 Boston Red Sox. In his third season with the Red Sox, it is looking like it is Middlebrooks’s time to either pass or fail the test of the Major Leagues.