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Saturday, 17 May 2014 15:07

Oh, Will Middlebrooks what to do with you

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Those who know me know that I am as big of a Will Middlebrooks fan there is but after watching the young man struggle this season it may be time for change.

In 2012 the Red Sox really struggled but one aspect of them didn't, it was Will Middlebrooks. In Middlebrooks fist season in the MLB he batted .288 with 15 home runs and drove in 54 runs in 75 games with the Boston. Middlebrooks flew a little under the radar that season due to the Red Sox lack of production from everyone else. But it was a tale of two halves for the youngster.

In 2013 Middlebrooks looked to really break through in his first full season. But problems with his lower back, which caused him to miss a good chunk of the season, really lead to struggles for the third baseman as he batted .227 with 17 home runs and knocked in 49 runs for the World Series Champions in the regular season. Middlebrooks stuck out 98 times in 94 games.

In the 2013 postseason, Middlebrooks hit a dismal .160 with one RBI while striking out 10 times in 28 plate appearances.

This season really is a continuous struggle as well for him as he is batting below .200 at .197 with a .305 on base percentage. Middlebrooks is showing a lack of power as well as he only has collected 14 hits this season and only five have been extra base hits. Those extra base hits have been two home runs and three doubles. Middlebrooks has battled injuries this season as well as he missed about half of the season so far with a grade 1 calf strain.

Why do I say the Red Sox may be better without Middlebrooks?

Reason 1) His power numbers have gradually gone down each season he has been in the MLB and his average as well. Middlebrooks started this season as a potential number 5 hitter but has fallen way down and is now bottom of the order guy. With most of his hits being singles that may be the reason.

Reason 2) Confidence. I don't think it is right for the Red Sox to keep someone up in the majors who can't even hit .200. They have enough issues with the bottom of their order and lack of production. With Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. struggling as well they need someone to hit down there.

Reason 3) Numbers never lie. Will's WAR(wins above replacement this season is a -0.2. What does that mean? That means the Red Sox have more wins without the former slugger in their lineup then when he is in it. One of those reasons could be the fact that when Brock Holt was called up to fill in for Middlebrooks he batted .348 with eight hits in only 28 plate appearances.

So with Garin Cecchini in Pawtucket absolutely raking at .306 with a homerun and 17 RBI's it may not be long for the Boston Red Sox to pull the plug on Middlebrooks and test out a youngster.

My solution would be to send Middlebrooks down to Pawtucket and let him get his swing ironed out. And when he is able to hit .300 down there steadily, I would call him back up for the stretch run.