Before you say “Time for a Will Middlebrooks bashing”, let me be clear that I like Middlebrooks. However, it’s hard not to notice how much he is struggling this season. You don’t need to be an advanced scout to see that he’s striking out more, especially at pitches high and away. Middlebrooks can’t get on base and even though he has 6 homeruns, he has left a good amount of runners stranded in scoring position. How bad is his slump? I crunched some numbers and what I found is troubling.
The Will Middlebrooks slump began after his 4 for 5, 3 homerun night at Toronto on April 7th. At the end of the game, Middlebrooks raised his average over 100 points to .323 and had an OPS over 1000. Since April 7th, in 73 At-Bats he has a .150 average, a .179 OBP and an ugly .274 slugging percentage. His OPS during this time has been an awful .453 during this stretch. Breaking out some Sabermetrics we can see the how this slump has affected his season numbers so far. As stated before, Middlebrooks has been striking out more and the numbers prove it. His strikeout percentage has increased, Middlebrooks now strikes out 30% of the time and his walk percentage is 3.9%, down from 4.5% from last year. More ugly numbers: With runners in scoring position, Middlebrooks is hitting .148 this season and has struck out 8 times in 27 chances.
As I looked at more numbers, I could not help but feel bad for Middlebrooks. With the lack of depth at third base, Middlebrooks needs to turn his season around at the plate. The Red Sox have been able to do well without a productive Middlebrooks in the lineup, but who knows how long that will last.