Middlebrooks Getting Real Close

PAWTUCKET, RI - Will Middlebrooks has plenty of accolades that essentially say what the Boston and Pawtucket programs already know — that he has a high ceiling and is on the right track to consistently play in Boston. One of Boston's top prospects and one of the system's best infield arms coming into the 2012 season, the question surrounding him is: how can he take his game to the next level?

"[I've been working on] overall strength and flexibility. I worked out at API in Dallas and I'm just trying to get my body to where I can play a full season without feeling those aches and pains," said Middlebrooks when asked what he has been working on this past offseason.

"I would love to get faster and I worked on that a little bit. As far as gaining weight, I always try to put on a little weight because as the season goes on it just falls off of you."

The Wake Village, Texas native spent the majority of the 2011 season in Double-A Portland. He batted a strong .302, hitting 18 home runs and driving in 80 runs over a span of 96 games. These impressive numbers are what earned him a stretch in Triple-A Pawtucket as the season ended and what propelled him to Boston's 40-man roster this year.

"It was a great year last year, definitely a confidence builder. It was something to move me in the right direction coming into this season. I'm just here to try to keep getting better," said Middlebrooks as he looked ahead to this season in Pawtucket.

While Middlebrooks is happy with what he has done, he is not satisfied. He conveys an awareness of the fact that if he wants to make it to the majors, he's going to have to be consistent day in and day out. It's great to reflect on a solid year, but the third baseman knows that it's not enough.

"There's always room to improve. I want to continue what I started last year and hopefully that will transform me even more," said Middlebrooks in regards to his strong 2011 season.

"I feel really confident in the entire game, but you can always be better with your approach at the plate, your selectivity up there, and as far as power goes, you need to be more selective and get a good pitch to hit."

Will Middlebrooks possesses an air of confidence that cannot be taught. It is clear that he maintains a strong balance between having confidence in his abilities and the humility required to accept and learn from criticism.

"You know, there are critics out here, but the biggest critic is myself, you know? I want to do good. I'm just here to try and keep getting better."

Even amongst all the praise, Will is capable of keeping a level-head focused on improving his game.

"He did a great job out in the [Arizona] Fall League. It was really the first time other than the month he was here to see him play," said Manager Arnie Beyeler about Middlebrooks' offseason performance. "He did a real nice job of going out there, utilizing his strengths, driving the baseball and getting back on track.

"It was a great experience for him at the end of the season to get his feet wet at the Triple-A level. I'm sure he didn't do as well as he'd have liked to have done, but he got a lot of experience and the familiarity of coming back this year will hopefully make a good transition for him."

Despite batting just .161 in 16 games in Pawtucket last year, it is still clear that Middlebrooks has the potential to be great. It is simply a matter of getting comfortable and continuing to show improvement along with maintaining the intangibles that he possesses.

"We've got a lot of young guys here that just need reps," noted Beyeler when asked if there was anything specific the Texan could improve on. "They just needs reps and need to play.

"They need game situations and the speed of the game at the next level as they will when they get to the big leagues. He just needs to continue playing and working hard and staying healthy and good things will happen to him."


Diehard Magazine Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"[I've been working on] overall strength and flexibility. I worked out at API in Dallas and I'm just trying to get my body to where I can play a full season without feeling those aches and pains,\" said Middlebrooks when asked what he has been working on this past offseason.
\r\n
\r\n\"I would love to get faster and I worked on that a little bit. As far as gaining weight, I always try to put on a little weight because as the season goes on it just falls off of you.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe Wake Village, Texas native spent the majority of the 2011 season in Double-A Portland. He batted a strong .302, hitting 18 home runs and driving in 80 runs over a span of 96 games. These impressive numbers are what earned him a stretch in Triple-A Pawtucket as the season ended and what propelled him to Boston's 40-man roster this year.
\r\n
\r\n\"It was a great year last year, definitely a confidence builder. It was something to move me in the right direction coming into this season. I'm just here to try to keep getting better,\" said Middlebrooks as he looked ahead to this season in Pawtucket.
\r\n
\r\nWhile Middlebrooks is happy with what he has done, he is not satisfied. He conveys an awareness of the fact that if he wants to make it to the majors, he's going to have to be consistent day in and day out. It's great to reflect on a solid year, but the third baseman knows that it's not enough.
\r\n
\r\n\"There's always room to improve. I want to continue what I started last year and hopefully that will transform me even more,\" said Middlebrooks in regards to his strong 2011 season.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel really confident in the entire game, but you can always be better with your approach at the plate, your selectivity up there, and as far as power goes, you need to be more selective and get a good pitch to hit.\"
\r\n
\r\nWill Middlebrooks possesses an air of confidence that cannot be taught. It is clear that he maintains a strong balance between having confidence in his abilities and the humility required to accept and learn from criticism.
\r\n
\r\n\"You know, there are critics out here, but the biggest critic is myself, you know? I want to do good. I'm just here to try and keep getting better.\"
\r\n
\r\nEven amongst all the praise, Will is capable of keeping a level-head focused on improving his game.
\r\n
\r\n\"He did a great job out in the [Arizona] Fall League. It was really the first time other than the month he was here to see him play,\" said Manager Arnie Beyeler about Middlebrooks' offseason performance. \"He did a real nice job of going out there, utilizing his strengths, driving the baseball and getting back on track.
\r\n
\r\n\"It was a great experience for him at the end of the season to get his feet wet at the Triple-A level. I'm sure he didn't do as well as he'd have liked to have done, but he got a lot of experience and the familiarity of coming back this year will hopefully make a good transition for him.\"
\r\n
\r\nDespite batting just .161 in 16 games in Pawtucket last year, it is still clear that Middlebrooks has the potential to be great. It is simply a matter of getting comfortable and continuing to show improvement along with maintaining the intangibles that he possesses.
\r\n
\r\n\"We've got a lot of young guys here that just need reps,\" noted Beyeler when asked if there was anything specific the Texan could improve on. \"They just needs reps and need to play.
\r\n
\r\n\"They need game situations and the speed of the game at the next level as they will when they get to the big leagues. He just needs to continue playing and working hard and staying healthy and good things will happen to him.\"
\r\n
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