August 19, 2011 at 1:53 PM
Third baseman and top Red Sox prospect Will Middlebrooks has been promoted from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Pawtucket, according to the PawSox Twitter feed. The 22-year old was hitting .302/.345/.520 with 18 home runs in 371 at-bats for the Sea Dogs.
Drafted in the fifth round of the 2007 amateur draft out of Liberty-Eylau High School in Texas, Middlebrooks was given a $925,000 bonus to sign away from his football and baseball scholarship to Texas A&M. Considered the best athlete selected by Boston in that draft, he debuted in 2008 with short-season Class-A Lowell, hitting just .254 as he began refining his pitch selection skills. He continued to refine those skills with Low-A Greenville in 2009, where he hit .265/.349/.404 for the season. Middlebrooks then followed that up with a .276/.331/.439 campaign with High-A Salem in 2010.
This season has been a breakout season for the third-baseman in that he has significantly improved his pitch recognition and began to show above-average in-game power. Counting a four game rehab stint with Lowell this season, Middlebrooks has 21 home runs in 100 games in 2011. He is also a plus defender at the hot corner, with above-average range, a plus arm, solid footwork, and strong fundamentals. He profiles as an above-average regular at third base, with some All-Star potential.
Middlebrooks has an outside shot of being a September call-up to the big club this year, given that he needs to be added to the 40-man roster by November 20 to avoid eligibility for the Rule 5 Draft. However, roster space is at a premium this year, which could mean we don't see him in Boston until 2012.