Most 24-year-olds with less than 400 career major league at-bats who start the season hitting .195 through 30 games stare a demotion right in the face. Not Will Middlebrooks. The Red Sox third baseman must play his way out of his current slump.
Middlebrooks has struggled mightily to begin the year. In addition to hitting below the Mendonza Line — his .195 average is ninth-worst among American League qualifiers — Middlebrooks owns a .233 on-base percentage (third-worst) and a negative 0.9 offensive wins above replacement (second-worst). His 36 strikeouts have him tied with Adam Dunn — a notorious strikeout king — for the sixth-most in the AL, and his fielding has also been suspect of late.
In other words, you could make a case that Middlebrooks is currently the AL’s worst third baseman, from a statistical standpoint. (Not exactly cause for a festive Cinco de Mayo.)
Let’s keep in mind, obviously, that we’re dealing with the small sample size of 120 plate appearances, and that Middlebr...