PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 10: U.S. Futures All-Star Will Middlebrooks #16 of the Boston Red Sox winks as he runs on the field during the 2011 XM All-Star Futures Game at Chase Field on July 10, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
In a battle of potential vs. proximity (or ceiling vs. floor, if you prefer), proximity has won. Will Middlebrooks is Over The Monster's choice for the second best prospect in the Red Sox' system, topping young phenom Xander Bogaerts for the honors.
After hinting at a breakout in 2010 with periods of brilliance, Middlebrooks put together a strong campaign with the Portland Sea Dogs in 2011, hitting .302/.345/.520 in 397 plate appearances with the team. When combined with his excellent glove at the hot corner, it was a year that left Middlebrooks the top prospect in the system according to many scouts.
While Middlebrooks struggled after a promotion to Pawtucket, the move was fairly aggressive all things considered, and he's generally been the sort of player who needs time to adjust to a new level to begin with. Given another offseason of development, Middlebrooks should be ready to establish himself as the heir apparent to Kevin Youkilis at third.
- Ryan Lavarnway, C/DH
- Will Middlebrooks, 3B