Roche: Middlebrooks Showing Off Raw Power
BOSTON (CBS) – Red Sox fans are caught up in the hype these days of another hot-shot rookie. This time it’s Will Middlebrooks, a slugging 23-year-old third baseman from Texas.
Middlebrooks had 23 home runs on three different levels in the minor leagues in 2011.
He’s come up to Boston and has impressed… mightily.
His first home run in the bigs was a grand slam at Fenway Park. Then on Monday night in Kansas City, he homered to the opposite ends of the ballpark for his first multi-homer game of his career. The first one hooked just inside the right field foul pole while the second actually hit high atop the left field foul pole. He also added a dead center field double.
Will this last?
It’s almost impossible to keep up that kind of hitting, especially as a rookie. However, he does show that he has the ability to hit to all fields and to hit different pitches.
Also, what impresses me the most?
His raw power.
I have been going down to Fort Myers every year since the Red Sox moved there from Winter Haven. There have only been two instances where a player blew me away the first time I saw them hit.
The first one was David Ortiz, who hit moon shot after moon shot over a 20-foot tall green screen in center field on the back field in the old Sox minor league complex.
It was amazing, as if you were watching some player that had been in hiding for years.
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The second instance occurred this past spring.
I walked to one of the back fields because I wanted to see Will Middlebrooks, the number one prospect in the Sox organization.
He didn’t disappoint.
I watched this kid (who is built like Jason Bay) launch majestically high rainbow shots over the trees in left field. And, he did it over and over again.
It was so impressive that when he was done Jacoby Ellsbury dropped his bat and gave him a round of applause.
Now will that translate?
Not sure, as anything can happen. But Middlebrooks has the raw tools to be a big leaguer for many years to come.
Follow WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on twitter @RochieWBZ