BOSTON (CBS) – Red Sox third base prospect Will Middlebrooks has one goal this Spring Training: learn from the vets.
“I’m really just here to learn. This is a really good group of veteran guys here. I’m here to just watch them go about their business and learn how to be a big leaguer,” Middlebrooks, who many see as the Sox’ third baseman of the future, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jonny Miller Tuesday morning.
Middlebrooks, Boston’s fifth round selection in the 2007 first-year player draft, is off to a good start this spring going 3-for-4 in his first two games with an RBI and run scored. The 23-year-old rose up the Red Sox’ minor league system in 2011, spending time in Lowell, Portland and Pawtucket, hitting a combined .285 with 23 homers and 64 RBI.
His numbers tailed off a bit when he hit Triple-A, batting just .161 with two home runs and eight RBI in 16 games for Pawtucket. But Middlebrooks is confident as he gets older and fine-tunes his game, he will be a big bat in future Boston lineups.
“I want to be a power guy. I want to be a guy that drives the ball in gaps, hits homers and just drives runs in,” said Middlebrooks. “I feel like as the years have come, the power numbers have gone up so I’m turning more into a power guy.”
“Obviously I’m still trying to refine my skills and be more selective at the plate and get better jumps at balls at third base,” he added. “I take a lot of pride in my defense.”
A shortstop in high school, Middlebrooks made the move to the hot corner when his Red Sox career began, and for one simple reason.
“I grew. When I signed I was about 185-190lbs, now I’m about 225,” he said.
As for growing into a major league talent, Middlebrooks said there is no rush. The decision when he gets the call to the big leagues will be up to the front office, and when they feel he is ready.
“That’s up to these guys. I’m just going to go out every day and play as hard as I can and leave that with those guys in the front office.”
Until then, he’ll just sit back and learn from those above him.
Middlebrooks will be back on the field Tuesday when Boston hosts the Baltimore Orioles at JetBlue Stadium, batting eighth and playing third.