Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 1/15/13
There’s no doubt that Will Middlebrooks had a great 75-game debut in 2012, just ask Kevin Youkilis, but how much of it was luck? If you look at his 21.4% HR/FB mark you’ll realize he probably won’t hit home runs at the same pace in 2013. His .335 BABIP was a bit on the high side, but if you look at his .345 xBABIP you can make the case that he was a little unlucky in the batting average department. Still, a player with a 4.5 BB% and 24.5 K% isn’t going to get a lot of support from me in repeating a .288 batting average. Pair all that with the fact he’s coming off wrist surgery and you have a player going into 2013 with a lot of questions, but some nice upside. At a Glance Strengths: RBI, SLG Neutral: BA, R, HR, OBP, OPS Weaknesses: SB, BB, K Player Comparison Best-case scenario: Chase Headley (SD) Likely scenario: Alex Rodriguez (NYY), David Freese (STL), Mike Moustakas (KC) Worst-case scenario: Trevor Plouffe (MIN) Will Middlebrooks 2013 Fantasy Projection Because he plays half of his games at Fenway Park you should expect a higher than average HR/FB rate, but 21.4% is too high. Let’s say he lands around the 16% mark in 2013 with the same fly ball rate of 35.0%; that would peg him at 22-23 homers. Of course, if you’re a Bill James disciple then you will be expecting a line of .277/75/29/99/11 which is a best-case scenario if I’ve ever seen one. Middlebrooks is a solid player who, if healthy, could be a little streaky in batting average, but should provide solid power and RBI numbers given the lineup he is in.
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