Will Middlebrooks: Most improved

Sam Galanis
Contributing Writer

Will Middlebrooks has proved that his time in Pawtucket was a wake-up call. Before, he was underperforming, possibly thinking that he was secure in his second year on the third base job. Now, he’s come back in full force.

Middlebrooks’s short tenure on the Red Sox so far has been somewhat stormy. Some fans were reluctant to accept his promotion to starting third baseman over Kevin Youkilis, an appointment made by the much-reviled Bobby Valentine. He did well in his rookie season, but cut it short after breaking a bone in his hand.

Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Then, this April, he seemed primed for another great season. He was batting .320 in the first week with four home runs already, thanks to a spectacular three-home run game. But that one week was all the Sox really got out of him, with his average reaching the depths of the high .100s before he got sent down to Triple-A.

Thankfully, Middlebrooks has made unbelievable improvements coming back up from Pawtucket. Much of his recent success is from making minor tweaks, like changing his batting stance. Since his August 10 call up, Middlebrooks has taken his average from .192 to .245. He had a .322 average in August, and has a .464 average so far this month. His last five games have all been multi-hit games, hitting a home run in four of them. Needless to say, it makes sense that he was named American League co-Player of the Week with Mike Napoli.

It’s promising to see how much Middlebrooks has improved in the short amount of time he spent in the minors. A large part of an athlete’s performance is their attitude towards it, and he clearly worked hard to get his head back in the game. Middlebrooks has set himself up to become a key player in the Red Sox’ race to the playoffs.

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