Red Sox Reviews – Will Middlebrooks

Next up in the Red Sox Reviews series is third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who’s rookie season in 2012 was cut short by a wrist injury. He’s a big key to the Red Sox’ hopes in 2013.

13-t-will-middlebrooks* – In 286 plate appearances last season, Middlebrooks pounded out 29 extra-base hits including 15 home runs. His .509 slugging percentage made him just the third Red Sox player ever to slug .500+ in 250 or more plate appearances in his rookie season:

.609 – Ted Williams, 1939
.530 – Tony Conigliaro, 1964
.509 – Will Middlebrooks, 2012

Note this: Only four other rookie third basemen ever have done it:

.634 – Ryan Braun, 2007
.539 – Bob Horner, 1978
.531 – Evan Longoria, 2008
.525 – David Wright, 2004
.509 – Will Middlebrooks, 2012

* – Middlebrooks had 65 at bats last season where he fell behind 0-and-2, but he managed to hit .277 with five home runs and a .523 slugging percentage, the highest such slugging percentage in the majors last season (min. 50 such at bats):

.523 – Will Middlebrooks, BOS
.511 – Jose Reyes, MIA
.492 – Jonathan Lucroy, MIL

Note this: They’ve tracked that stat since 1988 and only one rookie has put up a higher slugging percentage after 0-and-2 counts than Middlebrooks in those 25 seasons (min. 50 such AB): James Loney, who slugged .563 after 0-and-2 counts for the Dodgers in 2007.

Note this too: Middlebrooks’ .523 slugging after 0-and-2 counts ranks third by a Red Sox in the 25 years that the stat has been tracked (same min.):

.588 – Trot Nixon, 2003
.538 – Jose Canseco, 1995
.523 – Will Middlebrooks, 2012
.510 – Manny Ramirez, 2001
.491 – Mike Greenwell, 1995

* – Although Middlebrooks put up respectable numbers on the road (.297 average, six home runs, .826 OPS), he struck out 34 times and walked just twice away from Fenway, the most strikeouts by any Red Sox non-pitcher with two or fewer walks ever:

34 – Will Middlebrooks, 2012 (2 walks)
22 – Mike Benjamin, 1997 (1 walk)
20 – Don Demeter, 1966 (1 walk)
18 – Bob Montgomery, 1975 (2 walks)

Note this: At Fenway, Middlebrooks struck out 36 times, but coaxed a much more respectable 11 walks.

* – Middlebrooks didn’t debut until May, and he collected 30 hits before the month of May was out, becoming just the 25th rookie since 1950 to get 30 or more hits in the first month in which he appeared. The other Red Sox on that list include Walt Dropo, who holds the record for hits in a debut month with 40 in May, 1950, and Shea Hillenbrand, who had 34 hits in April, 2001.

Note this: Only three rookies since 1950 have hit more home runs in the first calendar month in which they appeared than Middlebrooks’ six: Dropo (10), Albert Pujols (8; April, 2001), and Alvin Davis (7, April, 1984).

* – Of Middlebrooks’ 15 home runs, two-thirds (10) came with runners on base. Since 1974, it was just the eighth time that a Red Sox player has hit 15+ home runs and had two-thirds or more come with runners on base:

76% – Kevin Youkilis, 2011 (13-of-17)
72% – Kevin Youkilis, 2008 (21-of-29)
71% – Manny Ramirez, 2005 (32-of-45)
70% – Nick Esasky, 1989 (21-of-30)
69% – Bill Buckner, 1985 (11-of-16)
68% – Jim Rice, 1984 (19-of-28)
67% – Dwight Evans, 1988 (14-of-21)
67% – Will Middlebrooks, 2012 (10-of-15)

* – Middlebrooks’ .478 average in the fifth inning last season (11-for-23) was the highest in the majors (min. 25 PA):

.478 – Will Middlebrooks, BOS
.469 – Ryan Braun, MIL
.433 – Daniel Murphy, NYM

Note this: It was the second highest fifth inning average by a Red Sox player in a season since 1950 (same minimum), trailing only Ted Williams, who hit .543 in the fifth in 1955, going 19-for-35 with seven home runs.

Be sure to check back often for the next installment of Red Sox Reviews!

 

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