Missing On Will Middlebrooks
Sometimes I write stupid things. Back in 2009 when I was just starting to write about prospects, I wrote even more stupid things. The blurb on Will Middlebrooks below might just take the cake as the worst analysis I’ve ever given.
“In trying to figure Middlebrooks out, one has to wonder how a player with great size and strength can turn his raw tools into in game results. Middlebrooks has yet to figure it out. With his 21st birthday this Wednesday, he will open up the 2010 season back in Greenville or in Salem where he would likely spend the entire season.
As I mentioned earlier, at what point do the Red Sox pull the plug on Middlebrooks as an infielder and try him out on the mound? For a player whose infield arm has already been voted the best in the system on two occasions, I’m pretty sure the thought has crossed the mind of Red Sox faithful.”
To this day, Will Middlebrooks haunts me as readers are quick to point out my predictions when he does anything of note. And when he hit three home runs the other night, readers let me know about it. In the end, it’s all in fun, but any prospect writer leaves his/herself open to needling — Even when the piece was written at a time when I knew much less than today.
I even drank the Middlebrooks Kool-Aid and drafted him in an Ottoneu league last season for $5 and kept him for $12 after other owners jacked his price up through arbitration. For the record, I was on the fence with the decision and would have cut him in a league where young, talented players were not so overvalued.
Through eight games, Middlebrooks is putting together a season to make small sample size writers swoon. Overall, Middlebrooks sits at .250/.294/.688 entering today’s action. This includes a four hit, three home run game. Subtract that game and Middlebrooks has reached base four other times across seven games (2B, HR, 2 BB).
This season, Middlebrooks has struck out a ton, hasn’t walked in his last six, and is projected to finish with a .254/.291/.460 triple slash line per ZIPS updated projections.
So yes, I did miss on Middlebrooks, but, the verdict is still out on what type of player he’ll be. Remember, Kevin Kouzmanoff posted a career line of .255/.300/.420 and was out of baseball by 29.
Food for thought: IF Middlebrooks produces to his ZIPS projections, would the Red Sox be better off with Jose Iglesias at shortstop and Xander Bogaerts at third base eventually? After a full season of sub .300 on base percentages, would the Middlebrooks luster wear off in Boston? If you are dynasty league owner and are banking on Middlebrooks to lead you to the promise land, it might be time to pivot and sell high.
In my Ottoneu league, I’m stuck with Middlebrooks while Aramis Ramirez is on the disabled list. If I wasn’t, he’d be dealt to the highest bidder — Especially in points leagues where walks are so important. For me, the downside of owning Middlebrooks far outweighs trusting him to become a more disciplined hitter.
If you happen to disagree, feel free to reply to this newsletter and point out what I’m missing. Better yet, take it to the message boards and share your thoughts with the world.
25 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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