The Boston Red Sox struck gold with Will Middlebrooks in the fifth round of the 2007 MLB Draft. Middlebrooks’ decision to bypass his commitment to Texas A&M worked out well for both parties as his 2012 major-league debut resulted in a season worthy of AL Rookie of the Year honors if it hadn’t been cut short due to injury. Now with a revamped front office and coaching staff, the Red Sox look to start rebuilding their dynasty in 2013 and it all starts with Middlebrooks.
To say Middlebrooks set the woods on fire in 2012 is an understatement. He didn’t even play half a season, but recorded 15 home runs, 54 RBI and a .288 average while serving as a brick wall on the left side of Boston’s infield. This guy can literally do it all, as has been the case in all of his athletic career.
Middlebrooks was a two-sport star at Liberty-Eylau High School in Texarkana, Texas, where he won a football state championship as a quarterback with San Francisco 49ers running back LaMichael James in the backfield with him. Liberty-Eylau’s baseball team obviously wanted bad, either, as Middlebrooks twice played in the state title game. Before baseball took over his life, Middlebrooks was a solid basketball player as well as kicking, punting and catching passes from New England Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett in a Texarkana summer football league.
Why the backstory on Middlebrooks? He can do it all and he always has. He won’t be just the hotshot rookie for the Red Sox in 2013–he’ll be their anchor. Take his numbers as a rookie for a third of the 2012 season and stretch them over a full year’s schedule and you’ve got an MVP candidate on your hands. Yes, that’s a prediction and you can say you heard it here first.