Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Will Middlebrooks is finally the Man, Maybe!

It didn't take long to see that Will Middlebrooks was going to be the next big thing for us in Red Sox Nation.  Who's Number 64 on the Red Sox, Dad, he's really good, followed closely by, can I get Will Middlebrook's jersey?  (After seeing my younger son sport a Jacoby Ellsbury 46 jersey, I'll pass on buying number 64 for now.)  Will Middlebrooks has finally become the man here in Boston.  At least that is what the boys are telling me.  But does he deserve it?

The Red Sox farm system has been hit or miss in recent years.  For every Dustin Pedroia and Jon Lester we've developed, we also have developed a lot of players who can't seem to play baseball. Yes, I'm talking to you Anthony Rizzo.  We feel that we always have the best farm system, but that's only because we only know about the players in the Red Sox organization.  When it comes down to it, we haven't really developed that many great players in recent years.

But Middlebrooks could break the Red Sox out of the farm system slump right now.  He has virtually as many RBIs as games played in his young career (34 in 43 games).  He's a leader in the AL Rookie of the year race.  He hit a bomb to straightaway Centerfield such that C commented that that was the farthest home run he had ever seen (except for his home run when he hit one in little league - there was no fence).  I saw that home run too and thought it was crushed, myself.  Middlebrooks could be the righthanded hitter that the Red Sox have been looking for in the middle of the line up ever since Manny Ramirez was shipped to the Dodgers four years ago.

But he's only 23 years old and has had less than a year above Double A ball.  A lot of these kinds of guys become flash in pans.  And we all know that Boston is not the easiest place to play.

So we are handling this guy with kid gloves.  Even though the Red Sox traded Kevin Youkilis for a bag of balls to give Middlebrooks more playing time, I think that that trade was more addition by subtraction and not a means to a Middlebrooks end.  Middlebrooks was just the beneficiary.  So I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon - I remember Sam Horn and Phil Plantier - and no way am I going to have the boys invest any money buying Middlebrooks items yet.

But we're watching closely.

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