Will Middlebrooks Scouting Report (2009)
After watching his draft video prior to the 2007 draft, I was convinced Will would quickly become a top Red Sox prospect. However, injuries and serious contact issues have derailed his progress as he struggles to make it out of the Sally by the time he’s of legal drinking age. Is it too early to write Middlebrooks off? No, but his prospect status in my mind is on life support after watching him play a three game set earlier in the season. I even wonder if moving him back to the mound would be an option in order to wring out some value.
Physique and Athleticism: An impressive specimen at 6’4″, 200 lbs., (weight might be short changing him a bit) he’s enough of a physical presence that one can not help but notice him on the field. With broad shoulders, he and Anthony Rizzo could pass for outside linebackers with the New England Patriots. Unfortunately for Middlebrooks, the same size which makes for such a positive first impression is also what makes him look stiff from a baseball standpoint. He’s not a fluid player and his being tight through the upper body may be what’s impeding his offensive game. His lower body is also well-developed, but he’s been able to remain an average runner with with the ability to move well at the hot corner.
Offense: Middlebrooks had excellent bat speed, but serious contact issues. Sand Gnats starters fed him a steady diet of outside fastballs and change ups keeping him off balance for the series. He did show the ability to work counts in an attempt to wait for his pitch, but his tightness through the shoulders seemed to impede him from putting a good swing on letter high heat. With the Mets placing added emphasis on their Brooklyn affiliate, one could assume the pitch selection to Middlebrooks was carried over from the previous year and may indicate his being seen as a dead pull hitter.
Defense: Showing a plus arm and good lateral movement for his size, Middlebrooks can definitely be an average defender or better at the position. In game action, he had a mental lapse which led to a Sand Gnat nine-hole hitter successfully laying down a drag bunt on Middlebrooks playing too deep. He also “big timed” a routine ground ball to his back hand side leading to a throwing error on a ball which sailed and pulled the first baseman off of the bag.
Speed: While not a burner, Middlebrooks possesses average speed for his size and can steal the occasional base. With his football background, he had a strong first step.
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.
23 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
Tags: Red Sox
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