Will Middlebrooks

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Will Middlebrooks
Will Middlebrooks on May 21, 2012.jpg
Middlebrooks with the Boston Red Sox in 2012
Boston Red Sox – No. 16
Third baseman
Born: (1988-09-09) September 9, 1988 (age 26)
Greenville, Texas
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
May 2, 2012 for the Boston Red Sox
Career statistics
(through September 1, 2014)
Batting average .240
Hits 186
Home runs 34
Runs batted in 119
Teams
Career highlights and awards

William Scott "Will" Middlebrooks (born September 9, 1988) is an American professional baseball third baseman with the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB). Middlebrooks made his MLB debut with the Red Sox on May 2, 2012.

A fifth round draft pick in the 2007 MLB Draft out of Liberty-Eylau High School in Texarkana, Texas, Middlebrooks signed with the Red Sox for $925,000, bypassing his commitment to Texas A&M University. Middlebrooks was originally a shortstop, but the Red Sox converted him into a third baseman in the minor leagues. He represented the United States in the 2011 All-Star Futures Game. Following Middlebrooks' emergence as the Red Sox' starting third baseman in 2012, the organization traded former All-Star Kevin Youkilis.

Career[edit]

Amateur career[edit]

Middlebrooks attended Liberty-Eylau High School in Texarkana, Texas.[1] Middlebrooks played shortstop and pitched for the high school baseball team. As a pitcher, he could reach 90 miles per hour (140 km/h) with his fastball.[2] Liberty-Eylau won the Class 3A state championship in 2006, Middlebrooks' junior season.[3][4] In his senior season, Middlebrooks had a .555 batting average.[5] He was named to the Class 3A All-State First Team and Class 3A Player of the Year by the Texas Sports Writers Association.[6]

In addition to baseball, Middlebrooks played American football and basketball in high school.[7] A quarterback, placekicker and punter, he played on the school's football team, which also featured LaMichael James.[8][9] He was named an All-State punter.[8] Middlebrooks admits that he preferred football, until he realized during his junior year that he had the opportunity to be selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.[7][10] In November 2006, he committed to attend Texas A&M University on a full scholarship to play baseball and football for the Texas A&M Aggies.[5][7][11]

Professional career[edit]

Minor league baseball[edit]

2007 Major League Baseball Draft.[12] However, the belief that he would follow through with his scholarship to Texas A&M led Middlebrooks to fall in the draft.[5] The Boston Red Sox drafted Middlebrooks in the fifth round of the draft, selecting him as a position player, rather than as a pitcher.[13] He received a $925,000 signing bonus to bypass his commitment to Texas A&M.[10]

Middlebrooks made his professional debut in 2008 with the Lowell Spinners of the Class A-Short Season New York-Penn League, where he batted .254 with one home run. He described himself as developmentally behind other players at his level because of the time he had devoted to football.[7] Initially a shortstop, Middlebrooks made the transition to third base as he added muscle, increasing from 190 pounds (86 kg) at the time he was drafted to 210 pounds (95 kg).[7]

In 2009, Middlebrooks played for the Greenville Drive of the Class A South Atlantic League, where he batted .265 with seven home runs and 57 runs batted in (RBIs).[14] He was promoted to the Salem Red Sox of the Class A-Advanced Carolina League in 2010 and responded by batting .276 with 12 home runs and 70 RBIs.[14] Middlebrooks began the 2011 season playing for the Portland Sea Dogs of the Class AA Eastern League. He played in the Eastern League All-Star Game, hitting a double in the game.[15] Middlebrooks also participated in the 2011 All-Star Futures Game,[16] starting at third base and going 1-for-2.[17]

Through August 2011, Middlebrooks batted .306 with 18 home runs and 80 RBIs for Portland, at which point he was promoted to the Pawtucket Red Sox of the Class AAA International League. Joe McDonald of ESPN.com called Middlebrooks "Boston's likely [third baseman] of the future" upon his promotion from Portland to Pawtucket.[18] He hit .161 in 16 games with Pawtucket to close out the 2011 season.[7]

After the 2011 season, the Red Sox assigned Middlebrooks to the Arizona Fall League, where he hit four home runs in 13 games and was named to the Rising Stars Game.[8][16] In November 2011, Middlebrooks, Che-Hsuan Lin and Drake Britton were added to the Red Sox 40-man roster to prevent them from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft.[19]

Heading into the 2012 season, Baseball America rated Middlebrooks as the Red Sox' best prospect and 51st best prospect overall.[20] Starting the 2012 season with Pawtucket, Middlebrooks hit .333 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs in 24 games and 93 at-bats.[21] Meanwhile, Red Sox starting third baseman Kevin Youkilis struggled, opening the 2012 season batting .219.[21] As Youkilis struggled, Middlebrooks appeared to be ready for a promotion.[22]

Boston Red Sox[edit]

The Red Sox promoted Middlebrooks to the major leagues on May 2, 2012, when Youkilis was placed on the disabled list.[21] He made his MLB debut that day, drawing a walk in his first plate appearance and recording two hits.[23] On May 6, he hit a game-tying grand slam for his first major league home run in what was eventually a 17-inning loss to the Baltimore Orioles.[24] In his first 41 games with the Red Sox, Middlebrooks batted .326 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs, the most RBIs to start a career for a member of the Red Sox since Walt Dropo recorded 37 RBIs in his first 41 career games dating back to 1949-50.[25]

Bobby Valentine, the manager of the Red Sox, initially alternated between Middlebrooks and Youkilis at third base. However, Middlebrooks' emergence led the Red Sox to trade Youkilis on June 23.[25][26] Middlebrooks was named American League Player of the Week for the week ending June 24.[27][28] Middlebrooks broke a bone in his right hand when he was hit by a pitch in a game against the Cleveland Indians on August 10, ending his rookie season with a .288 batting average, 15 home runs and 54 RBIs in 75 games played.[29][30]

Middlebrooks during his tenure with the Pawtucket Red Sox, triple-A affiliates of the Boston Red Sox, in 2014

On April 7, 2013, Middlebrooks hit three home runs in a 13-0 Red Sox victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto. Two of his home runs were hit off of pitcher R.A. Dickey.[31] However, he lost playing time to José Iglesias after he strained his back in May. After batting .192 on the season, the Red Sox optioned Middlebrooks to Pawtucket on June 25, 2013.[32] The Red Sox opted not to promote Middlebrooks when they traded Iglesias on July 30, using Brandon Snyder and Brock Holt instead. After Middlebrooks made adjustments, the Red Sox recalled him from Pawtucket on August 10.[33][34] In Game 3 of the 2013 World Series, Middlebrooks was ruled to have obstructed Allen Craig after diving for an errant throw at third base. The play awarded Craig the game winning run for the Cardinals.[35] The Red Sox won the series over the Cardinals.

In 2014, Middlebrooks missed 19 games in April due to a strained calf. In May, he broke a finger, and again went on the disabled list.[36] He had been struggling at the plate to begin the season hitting just .197 with 2 home runs in 21 games.[37] As he rehabilitated his injury in the minor leagues, Middlebrooks began playing in the outfield, due to the Red Sox' signing of Stephen Drew.[38]

Player profile[edit]

Middlebrooks is an athletic defensive player. He hits for power[39] and is also credited for his contact skills,[14] though he is not considered the most patient hitter. His throwing arm is well regarded,[39] and his baserunning is rated as average.[40]

Personal[edit]

Middlebrooks grew up in Texarkana, Texas. His father, Tom, serves as the head baseball coach and assistant football coach at Liberty-Eylau, and his younger sister, Lacey, played softball for the University of Tulsa. She is now an assistant softball coach at the University at Buffalo. Middlebrooks' mother, Julie, and youngest sister, Mary, are artists; Julie is an art teacher.[41] He has been friends with Ryan Mallett of the New England Patriots since they met in a football camp after Mallet moved to the Texarkana area in the seventh grade.[8][42]

Middlebrooks was engaged to Ann Lux, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, however they broke up in August 2012.[10][43] They are from the same hometown and have known each other since age 12.[44] As of July 14th, 2014, Middlebrooks is engaged to former NESN reporter Jenny Dell.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Abraham, Peter (August 20, 2010). "Middlebrooks turning the corner at third base". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 3, 2012.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ Brooks, Jon Dustin (March 9, 2007). "Liberty-Eylau pitcher hits his way to a win". The Marshall News Messenger. Retrieved May 3, 2012.  (subscription required)
  3. ^ Hale, Joe (May 19, 2006). "Carthage falls to L-E in playoff series opener". Longview News-Journal. Retrieved May 3, 2012.  (subscription required)
  4. ^ Cantu, Rick (June 7, 2007). "Leopards get shot to defend state title". Austin American-Statesman. p. C06. Retrieved May 3, 2012.  (subscription required)
  5. ^ a b c "Middlebrooks on verge of breakout". Kennebec Journal (Augusta, Maine). May 30, 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2012. 
  6. ^ "High School Baseball: TSWA All-State Teams". The Victoria Advocate. July 5, 2007. p. C2. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Tomase, John (April 27, 2012). "Will Middlebrooks on way: Bat, glove portend big future". BostonHerald.com. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Mallett and Middlebrooks living the dream". Boston Globe (The New York Times Company). February 1, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  9. ^ Giles, Les (December 10, 2006). "End of the line for Eagles: Liberty-Eylau hits Canyon defense with big plays in dominating victory". Amarillo Globe-News. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c Doyle, Ricky (May 1, 2012). "Will Middlebrooks Played High School Football With LaMichael James, But Focus Has Been on Baseball Ever Since". NESN.com. New England Sports Network. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  11. ^ Kretzschmar, Rick (March 8, 2007). "Hallsville, Marshall co-hosting tourney". Longview News-Journal. Retrieved October 30, 2012.  (subscription required)
  12. ^ Goldstein, Kevin (June 26, 2008). "Future Shock: AL East". Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  13. ^ Mayo, Jonathan (September 27, 2007). "Florida Instructional League Notebook: News & notes for the week of Sept. 24". MiLB.com. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b c Driver, David (August 16, 2011). "EL notes: Middlebrooks rolls along". Milb.com. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  15. ^ Thomas, Kevin (July 14, 2011). "Sea Dogs make impression; Will Middlebrooks and Alex Hassan hit doubles for the East, but the West emerges with an 8–3 victory". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved May 2, 2012.  (subscription required)
  16. ^ a b Minihane, Kirk (November 1, 2011). "Full Count » Red Sox prospect Will Middlebrooks named to Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game". WEEI. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Middlebrooks 1 for 2 in Futures Game". Boston.com. Boston Globe. July 10, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  18. ^ McDonald, Joe (August 20, 2011). "A giant step closer to Fenway". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved November 21, 2011. 
  19. ^ Cole, Mike (November 19, 2011). "Will Middlebrooks, Che-Hsuan Lin, Drake Britton Added to Red Sox' 40-Man Roster". NESN.com. New England Sports Network. Retrieved November 21, 2011. 
  20. ^ Thomas, Kevin (February 5, 2012). "On Baseball: Ranaudo may be Hadlock-bound". The Portland Press Herald. MaineToday Media. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  21. ^ a b c Browne, Ian (May 2, 2012). "Red Sox promote top prospect Middlebrooks". MLB.com. Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  22. ^ Abraham, Peter (April 18, 2012). "As Youkilis struggles, Middlebrooks impresses". Boston.com. Boston Globe. Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  23. ^ Underhill, Nick (May 2, 2012). "Will Middlebrooks makes strong debut in Red Sox' loss to A's". Springfield, Massachusetts: The Republican. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  24. ^ Browne, Ian (May 6, 2012). "Middlebrooks' first MLB home run is grand". MLB.com. Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  25. ^ a b Laymance, Austin (June 19, 2012). "Hot Corner Heir: Middlebrooks handed reins". MLB.com. Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved June 26, 2012. 
  26. ^ MacPherson, Brian (June 24, 2012). "Transition complete: Red Sox icon Youkilis traded to make room for rookie Middlebrooks". The Providence Journal. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 
  27. ^ Doyle, Ricky (June 25, 2012). "Middlebrooks Named AL Player of the week". NESN.com. New England Sports Network. Retrieved June 26, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Will Middlebrooks of the Boston Red Sox named the American League Player of the Week". MLB.com (Press release). Major League Baseball Advanced Media. June 25, 2012. Retrieved August 8, 2012. 
  29. ^ Finnan, Bob (August 11, 2012). "Red Sox put Will Middlebrooks on DL". ESPNBoston.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  30. ^ McDonald, Joe (September 11, 2012). "Will Middlebrooks gets cast off". ESPNBoston.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  31. ^ Browne, Ian (April 7, 2013). "MLB.com Gameday | redsox.com: Gameday". MLB.com. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  32. ^ Abraham, Peter (June 25, 2013). "Red Sox option Will Middlebrooks to Pawtucket". Boston Globe. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  33. ^ Abraham, Peter (August 11, 2013). "Will Middlebrooks gets start at third base". Boston Globe. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  34. ^ Edes, Gordon (August 10, 2013). "Red Sox recall Will Middlebrooks". ESPNBoston.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  35. ^ Blum, Ronald (October 27, 2013). "Obstruction call gives Cards win in WS Game 3". Associated Press. Retrieved October 27, 2013. 
  36. ^ http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2014/05/17/tough-break-sends-red-sox-will-middlebrooks-back/xEu61eYYIMkDSto4oEfjgO/story.html
  37. ^ http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/_/id/31232/will-middlebrooks
  38. ^ Mullen, Maureen (June 15, 2014). "Change of Position for Middlebrooks Could Enhance Value". Boston Globe. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  39. ^ a b Gray, Kevin (May 10, 2011). "Kevin Gray's On Baseball: Sox prospect Middlebrooks on the attack". New Hampshire Union Leader. Retrieved October 30, 2012. 
  40. ^ Marshall, Ashley (October 10, 2011). "Lavarnway, Brentz provide Sox with pop: Both sluggers top 30 homers, share Player of the Year honors". MiLB.com. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved October 30, 2012. 
  41. ^ Edes, Gordon (May 8, 2012). "Middlebrooks lightning strikes twice: Red Sox third baseman Will, Tulsa softball player Lacey hit simultaneous home runs". ESPNBoston.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved August 8, 2012. 
  42. ^ "Patriots QB Ryan Mallett anticipating Will Middlebrooks’ MLB debut". BostonHerald.com. Herald Media. May 2, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  43. ^ Abraham, Peter (April 24, 2012). "Will Middlebrooks making his case". Boston.com. Boston Globe. Retrieved May 4, 2012. 
  44. ^ Lux, Ann (February 22, 2012). "Farewell From Ann". Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Retrieved May 4, 2012. 

External links[edit]