As Will Middlebrooks trotted from second to third after his third-inning home run, the FOX color commentator could only say "I'm telling you right now, this kid...he ain't coming out of that lineup."
No, no he's not.
Though Kevin Youkilis trade rumors are flying fast and furious these days, the Sox' long time corner infielder remains with the team, but that's not about to affect Will Middlebrooks' playing time--at least not seriously. When put in the same category as Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis, it was hard to imagine Will Middlebrooks even being able to keep pace in his rookie season. Now, as much because of his own excellence as their mediocrity, he now stands atop the pile.
In just 142 at bats this year, Middlebrooks has put himself on the map. A line of .331/.368/.592 is a perfect representation of the controlled aggression at the plate that is Will Middlebrooks. No, he's not the classic super-patient Red Sox hitter who will work a 10 pitch walk, but he is a guy who knows what pitches he wants to hit, and what pitches he doesn't. Aside from a recent period where curveballs in the dirt seemed to have him fooled, Middlebrooks has shown that he's not going to bail pitchers out by going outside the zone; he's just also not willing to let their mistakes pass him by. The result: nine homers and plenty of wallball doubles.
Mike Trout may be pulling away in the Rookie of the Year conversation thanks to his ridiculous mix of talents, but in any other year Will Middlebrooks might be the runaway candidate. And when you've got a potential future fixture off to a start like this, you don't derail him with a benching or a demotion.
Will Middlebrooks is here to stay.