Last year, Will Middlebrooks brought a little bit of light to a dark, dark season. Then he broke his wrist, and the light was gone.
While Middlebrooks is back for 2013, however, there is still fear. A little over a week ago that fear surged when Middlebrooks appeared to hurt his wrist. And if that fear turned out to be unfounded, it still hasn't left completely. Wrist injuries, after all, are tricky things. They can nag at a player for years to come (just ask David Ortiz), and for a power-hitting third baseman like Will Middlebrooks, that's no small problem.
Then there are the concerns that do not involve the wrist. He is, after all, a sophomore, and a sophomore whose plate approach has raised some concerns. While his supporters will note that he showed clear signs of progression and improvement as the season went on (so long as you don't include the ridiculous beginning which ruins any trend), it's still hard not to worry.
If you look past all this naysaying doom and gloom, however, you'll remember that Will Middlebrooks could be a fantastic player. Big power, enough of a contact bat to make it play, and a strong glove at third. There is potential there for a star.
The question for today is: how much of that will shine through in 2013?