Re: The Definitve Middlebrooks Primer
posted at 9/27/2013 12:23 AM EDT
In response to notin's comment:
In response to BMav's comment:
In response to notin's comment:
These comparisons are, to say the least, a little bit off base. Middlebrooks is nowhere near any of those players at this age, except maybe Vaughn. And even in that case, there were reasons to be more excited about Vaughn, such as the fact that he had actual plate discipline.
At age 24:
Rice: .303 / .347 / .519 87HRs 16.7PA/BB, 5.4PA/K, 23.4PA/HR (2022PA)
Lynn: .327 / .389 / .525 33HRs 10.5PA/BB, 7.5PA/K, 37PA/HR (1222PA)
Yaz: .293 / .370 / .448 59HRs 9.4PA/BB, 7.9PA/K, 45.4PA/HR (2676PA)
Vaughn .244 / .331 / .389 17HRs 9.0PA/BB, 6.0PA/K, 38.1PA/HR (659PA)
Evans: .258 / .334 / .426 51HRs 10.3PA/BB, 6.6PA/K, 38.2PA/HR (1947PA)
Fisk: .292 / .363 / .531 24HRs 10.7PA/BB, 6.0PA/K, 23.7PA/HR (568PA)
Middlebrooks: .258 / .299 / .471 32HRs 19.6PA/BB, 3.9PA/K, 20.1PA/HR (646PA)
Comparisons are not even close. The only area Middlebrooks excels in is home runs. He walks far, far less frequently than anyone else on the list, he strikes out more often than anyone on the list (why are strikeouts acceptable for Middlebrooks but such a problem with Napoli?), and his OBP is below .300. He has had actual streaks of plate discipline, in which he excels overall, but outside of these, he does have power and little else. He probably always will have power. He is a 3B, and while his fielding dropped off this year, he was certainly acceptable last season. If last year is the real Middlebrooks, he is probably an acceptable defense / power option at 3B. Why fans want to re-arrange the infield to accommodate this guy is beyond me, except possibly their infatuation with his potential.
Sure he is young and might get better, but to date, the best Sox xomparable I can find for him is Player X.
Middlebrooks (thru age 24) .258 / .299 / .471 (105OPS+) 32HRs 19.6PA/BB, 3.9PA/K, 20.1PA/HR 5.0K/BB (646PA)
Player X (thru age 24): 261 / .318 / .480 (104OPS+) 62HRs 16.2PA/BB, 3.2PA/K, 19.4PA/HR 6.1 K/BB (1202PA)
To date, both have compared very closely thru age 24. Similar splits. Similar K/BB, PA per everything.
You probably want to know who Player X is, but I can promise you you do not. You will not like this comparison. No one liked him when he was in Boston.
So I will have to keep it a secret that Player X is Wily Mo Pena...
I think the Wily Pena comp is a bit unfair. From that point of Pena's career to his retirement, he had just 213 more games played. He lost a lot of his power and ability. Either health or PED's are the likely explanation. Do you expect Middlebrooks to fall apart like Pena?
I will give you another comp, although still somewhat ugly. Alfonso Soriano. Through his first two seasons as a starter, he put up this line.....281-314-490-804 with a BB/K rate of 3.7%-21.2%. The line is very similar and the BB/K rate is worse then Middlebrooks. And Soriano put up those numbers being 2 years older then Middlebrooks. Since that time, Soriano has put up this line.......270-323-507-830 with a BB/K rate of 6.4%/21.2%. He was able to improve his walk rate some. Hopefully Middlebrooks can too.
Now Soriano doesn't make my heart go gaga, but since his first two regular seasons, he ranks 24th in WAR at 34.6. I'll take these numbers from Middlebrooks.
As for the 1st base part, I kind of agree. Although its still an option in my mind if we don't sign Abreu or keep Napoli. And I would look at him more as a quasi platoon option at first. But I could see him putting up Napoli numbers next year, only on the cheap. Not likely, but close.
I am not huge on Middlebrooks either. Don't like his defense and can't stand the lack of walks. He has put up a 298-354-519-873 since coming back up, with a 11/35 BB/K rate. There is hope still. Wily Mo Middlebrooks my gluteus maximus. Burn that ouija board.
I will find out isMiddlebrooks drops off the Earth like Pena the same way we all do.
It is possible for him to improve, and people might not like Pena as a comp because of where he went from thjat point, but there is no denying their their pasts are somehwat similar at that age. And yet Middlebrooks draws comps to HOF talent, while Pena was reviled. And this despite Pena's .301 / .349 / .489 splits his first year in Boston. Can Middlebrooks put up those numbers? Last time Middlebrooks had a .349OBP with more than 100PA was in A-ball.
He had a hot streak when he got called up, fueld by a ludicrous Ciriaco-esque .388BABIP. He has since cooled down until that last Colorado game. Still, the entire process was like 5 weeks. He is streaky, despite the denials.
I would have dealt Middlebrooks before Iglesias. One might think that should have been a less complicated deal, as the White Sox have not had a 3b since Crede. But the management guys have faith in him for some reason I guess. They do have some sort of aadvanced metric I am not allowed to see that dictates he is a worthwhile option at 3B.
Or, he is just insurance in case Cecchini doesn't pan out.
Middlebrooks has right handed power that doesn't come along often and everyone seems to forget the wrist issue and his immediate success actually being a detriment. He got a little too big for his own good. It may have "clicked" for him a little when Gomes reamed him when he was texting his buddies instead of doing game prep. He went down to Pawtucket with a wake-up call and a terrific attitude. This kid has always been "the man" (Google his high school football quarterback highlights, insanely talented) & he had a lot of success quickly in baseball. He should only get better. Case in point was last night's home runs. He went with the pitch and hit bomb to right on first one and second one was sick. He was sitting fastball, but was able to adjust and "muscle" a curve ball down the line with exceptional bat speed/power. He would have likely whiffed in May on both pitches. I'm not his cheerleader, but it's a fact that Ben won't listen to offers on the guy and many people in baseball seem to think he has elite power, a cannon for an arm and maybe most importantly, "he gets the mental aspect of the game." We will see, but don't bet against this kid.