I have been put to the task of writing a sleeper post about Will Middlebrooks. Sorry guys, it’s the intern, J-FOH here, filling in for the man with the stache that launched a thousand ships. Hey, the man is busy, he’s a writer, husband, dog owner, constant flavor changing vaporbator, and stalker of Giancarlo Stanton. He’s only human and he needs some help from time to time. I’ve had to move the new furniture in his place three times since the wedding as the coug tries to find the right “flow” for their place. I am here to fill in and try to convince you all that 3rd base is really deep this year and that you can wait in your draft to get some really nice upside. Lets’s take a quick peek into how deep it is.
After the top four (using Grey’s ranks as a baseline) of Miguel Cabrera, Evan Longoria, Adrian Beltre, and David Wright, we start getting into some pretty choppy waters with waves that look like question marks and sharks ready to mistake us for seals. Ryan Zimmerman is an injury prone professional mess, any player whose analysis starts with an “IF” is someone I’ll pass on that high in the draft. Josh Donaldson was a “SURPRISE” last year and is set to bat out of the two hole. Pedro Alvarez strikes out a ton and can’t hit lefties ala Shin-Soo Choo. Matt Carpenter, who is fine as your second baseman, was the benefactor of hitting in front of four guys that hit .300 last year (OK, Carlos Beltran hit .296, but you get my point), and, just thinking about Kyle Seager has made me nod off three times trying to write this sentence. You got it… good! After that we have by my best estimates 8-9 guys you can reasonably use and one of Grey’s, uh, I mean, one of my personal favorites, Mr. Will Middlebrooks.
Will Middlebrooks came into 2013 with his own sleeper post and a projected stat line of 68/22/82/.278/8. Grey predicted a 17% HR/FB rate and he ended up with a 17.2%. Good call boss! He gave him a projection of 22 HR with 24 being a realistic stretch and ended up with 17, but that 17 came in 348 AB’s. So if he get’s the 550 AB’s, which is very reasonable, he projects to about 27 HR’s in 2013. Grey was not that far off if Middlebrooks doesn’t get sent down. Basically, if he doesn’t get his head stuck where the sun don’t shine we get 25+ HR’s, and we draft him in the 10th round this year. We saw his BABIP drop from a .335 to .263 (72 points if you’re scoring from home) so luck was definitely not in his favor. Upon his return from his trip to the minors, he came out of the gate on fire and hitting with discipline, 2/1 K/BB ratio and .322 AVG. Then came September and back to his old self, 22/3 K/BB and a .244 AVG, but he did hit 6 HR’s the last month of the year and had a combined 2 month line of 22/8/24/.275/3. I think this season a .260 hitter with upside to Grey’s prediction of .270 seems absolutely reasonable.
Hmmm, I’ve thrown all these numbers at you like a late night infomercial trying to get you out of debt but what does this all mean J-FOH? *calls Sky, no answer* *flop sweat starts flowing* It means he’s not as bad as he was last year and if his BABIP comes up to normal levels(.300+) he’s a cheaper version of Pedro Alvarez. A high K, low walk, lots of HR’s hitter that goes through some awesome streaks of ridiculous power and horrendous streaks of 0-50! I don’t think Pedro is a 35+ HR hitter, I think 30 is more reasonable, and I’m not saying he and Middlebrooks will have the same RBI totals, but Pedro is going around the 7th round and Middlebrooks is in 14th-16th round territory. I’m predicting a difference of 5 HR’s between the two. I don’t want you guys and four girl readers getting me wrong, I don’t hate Pedro, but like Domonic Brown, who is also being over drafted (both had two of the most ridiculous months of 2013). I would rather grab my SP2, a really good closer, or Wilin Rosario or Carlos Santana in the 7th and wait later to get my 3rd baseman. If you are worried about Middlebrooks, then cover yourself by drafting Cody Asche in the 22nd and insure him.