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Papelbon to the Phillies

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1. Will Middlebrooks (23 years old)
3B, Triple-A Pawtucket/Double-A Portland/Short-Season Lowell (rehab)
How acquired: Drafted in the 5th round, 2007. $925,000 bonus.
2011 Stats: .285/.328/.506 with 23 home runs.
Scouting Report: Middlebrooks is a solid all-around athlete with an ideal third-baseman’s frame. He has packed on a lot of muscle since signing in August 2007, but has managed to maintain above-average athleticism. On offense, he has plus bat speed with a nice upward plane through the strike zone, and he hits the ball hard with backspin when he squares it up. With improving bat control and pitch recognition, Middlebrooks projects to have plus power to all fields at the major-league level. However, he’s an aggressive hitter who will need to learn to be a bit more selective at Triple-A before making the jump to the big leagues. He also tends to over-extend his arms during his swing, which causes him to be susceptible on the inner third of the zone. He will need to refine his approach with inside pitches to produce more consistent contact and reduce the strikeouts. He also has the tendency to over-pull the ball during extended stretches, and has proven to be at his best when he’s using the whole field. Defensively, Middlebrooks is rounding toward becoming a plus overall defender. He has a plus-to-elite arm, as he was a highly-regarded pitcher in high school. He’s light on his feet defensively with strong anticipation, reaction, and first step skills. He shows solid footwork and typically stays square to the ball. He could stand to improve range to his left by stabbing less at the ball and taking another step or continuing to become comfortable throwing on the move. Overall, he’s a hard worker who has shown an exemplary ability to make adjustments each season.
Projection: Long-term above-average starter at third base
Ceiling: Perennial All-Star, middle-of-the-order bat
John Sickels mid season review of his preseason prospect list:

14) Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Grade C+: .
296/.339/.511 with 15 homers, 19 walks, 83 strikeouts in 331 at-bats for Portland. Nice to see power outburst, but BB/K ratio remains an issue for me.
 
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He will be when the 2012 lists come out. Sadly, it is amazing how lists can outdate themselves so quickly.
Not likely. A prospect needs to crack at LEAST the top 5 for his organization to make the overall top 100 and objective third party observers don't even list Middlebrooks in the top 10 for the Sox. You make an organizations top 5 by crushing AA at age 20. He may someday develop into a solid back half of the lineup guy, but those guys don't make the top 100 list.
 
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Not likely. A prospect needs to crack at LEAST the top 5 for his organization to make the overall top 100 and objective third party observers don't even list Middlebrooks in the top 10 for the Sox. You make an organizations top 5 by crushing AA at age 20. He may someday develop into a solid back half of the lineup guy, but those guys don't make the top 100 list.

Those most closely watching the Sox prospects have him at the top or near the top.
 
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First of all, if he was "major league ready", he wouldn't have played primarily in AA. The minor league system is tiered for a reason. A realistic comparison in the Yankees system is Brandon Laird. Yeah, he could probably hold down third base, but he is a middle of the pack prospect. And by that you automatically exclude all the 85% "system players" that aren't prospects in the first place.

I'm not sure who you think is going to trade for Youklis. Definitely would have to be a team with an opening at first, but then you are talking about a guy making $12 million, who hasn't played more than 136 games in three years, who is on the wrong side of 30. I'm not sure I see, again, the wisdom in what would end up being a give away for the purposes of opening a whole at third for a kid that just finished AA. Now, I do see the need to get healthy at that position, but other than that, is Youklis even one of the problems on that team ? As it is, only 4 guys in the lineup were more valuable, and he only played 100 games.

There is a market for Youkilis. They can't stop talking about him returning here to Cincinnati, who also needs a 3B to either replace or tandem with Scott Rolen.
 
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John Sickels mid season review of his preseason prospect list:

14) Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Grade C+: .
296/.339/.511 with 15 homers, 19 walks, 83 strikeouts in 331 at-bats for Portland. Nice to see power outburst, but BB/K ratio remains an issue for me.

That is #14 in the Red Sox system, not in all of baseball.
 
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1. Will Middlebrooks (23 years old)
3B, Triple-A Pawtucket/Double-A Portland/Short-Season Lowell (rehab)
How acquired: Drafted in the 5th round, 2007. $925,000 bonus.
2011 Stats: .285/.328/.506 with 23 home runs.


Ceiling: Perennial All-Star, middle-of-the-order bat

Yeah, I like that you leave out that it's from SoxProspects.com. I will wait to see a list from a non biased spot.
 
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For the record, from 2006-2011, the WAR leaders for relievers goes as follows:

Papelbon - 14.7
Rivera - 13.9
Thornton - 10.2
Putz - 9.7
K-Rod - 9.5
Nathan - 9.3

By every measure there is, he was one of the top 3 or 4 closers in the game and by Fangraphs metric, it would cost 10+ million to replace that production via free agency. Kinda foolish, IMO, to let him walk over a relatively puny sum of money. But then, the Sox have a "gritty underdog" reputation to restore.

Methinks you would be reluctant to provide these stats while pap was a member of the red sox.
 
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MLB ready ? He was a middle of the pack prospect that played primarily in AA in 2011. AND he was even a touch old for that level. He is not in the picture for the Sox in 2012, not by a long shot. He'll spend a full year in AAA - where he was overmatched in a brief stint there this season - and then maybe he would be ready for the next level in 2013.
He spent his entire 2011 season as a 22-year old. The average age in AA is 24.2. So no, he's not a touch old for that level.

I do agree with the notion that he won't be in the bigs until 2013. He needs a full year at the AAA level to prove himself and improve plate discipline. The power is developing nicely and the defensive is supposedly very good.
 
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For the record, from 2006-2011, the WAR leaders for relievers goes as follows:

Papelbon - 14.7
Rivera - 13.9
Thornton - 10.2
Putz - 9.7
K-Rod - 9.5
Nathan - 9.3

By every measure there is, he was one of the top 3 or 4 closers in the game and by Fangraphs metric, it would cost 10+ million to replace that production via free agency. Kinda foolish, IMO, to let him walk over a relatively puny sum of money. But then, the Sox have a "gritty underdog" reputation to restore.

What's foolish is giving a 31 year old reliever a 4 year deal with a 5th year option. Just because the Sox could have given him the contract that the Phils are going to doesn't mean they should. Wise pass in my opinion.
 
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Not likely. A prospect needs to crack at LEAST the top 5 for his organization to make the overall top 100 and objective third party observers don't even list Middlebrooks in the top 10 for the Sox. You make an organizations top 5 by crushing AA at age 20. He may someday develop into a solid back half of the lineup guy, but those guys don't make the top 100 list.
20 year olds seldom mash at the AA level unless you can find a few out there in the Wild West where the ball sails like crazy.
There were only 3 hitters in the Eastern League that had a higher OPS than Middlebrooks at the age of 22.

The best OPS by a 20 year old in the league? Anthony Gose (.763)
 
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First Papelbon. The Sox will definitely miss him. They have no obvious replacement for him and will most likely have to go outside. They will be hard pressed to find anyone as good as him. In his career he has had only one year with an ERA of greater than 3.00 and never over 4.00. He had a career low whip of less than one in 2011 and his strikeout to walk ratio may have been the best in all of baseball. In 2011, he had (I think) one blown save prior to the last game of the season in which he may have been gassed. He pitched in a save situation the night before and Francona had never used him that way during the season. The reality is that four years with an option year is a lot for a closer unless he is the second coming of Mariano. Unfortunately for the Sox, he may be.

Middlebrooks is pretty clearly a year or more away. At this point he is potential. However, I don't think that Youk is done yet. If he proves to be too fragile, they still have Aviles and Lowrie to fill in. Aviles is an interesting player. Twice he has hit over .300 for almost a full season.
 
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That is #14 in the Red Sox system, not in all of baseball.
Exactly. And if you look at the rest of that list, the only reason Middlebrooks would be considered higher now is because most of the rest of the list BOMBED.
 
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20 year olds seldom mash at the AA level unless you can find a few out there in the Wild West where the ball sails like crazy.
There were only 3 hitters in the Eastern League that had a higher OPS than Middlebrooks at the age of 22.

The best OPS by a 20 year old in the league? Anthony Gose (.763)
Maybe in 2011. Top prospects, as in TOP prospects ? Try Montero who put up a .909 OPS in AA in 2009 at age 19. That is how you measure a TOP prospect. Brandon Laird for the Yankees is a perfect comp for Middlebrooks. Good prospect to be a back of the lineup guy. Not a top 100 prospect.
 
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He spent his entire 2011 season as a 22-year old. The average age in AA is 24.2. So no, he's not a touch old for that level.

I do agree with the notion that he won't be in the bigs until 2013. He needs a full year at the AAA level to prove himself and improve plate discipline. The power is developing nicely and the defensive is supposedly very good.
For a PROSPECT in that league, he is. 23 years old in AAA is borderline for a high level prospect. Plate discipline is what separates a AAAA player from a real prospect. If you cannot be bothered to be discerning at the plate in the middle levels of the minors, major league pitchers will eat you alive. Kinda like Soriano striking out on sliders 2 feet outside in the 2003 world series.

Curious what the truth is about his defense. Someone else in this thread already said his defense is poor.
 
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Maybe in 2011. Top prospects, as in TOP prospects ? Try Montero who put up a .909 OPS in AA in 2009 at age 19. That is how you measure a TOP prospect. Brandon Laird for the Yankees is a perfect comp for Middlebrooks. Good prospect to be a back of the lineup guy. Not a top 100 prospect.
Has anyone insinuated that Middlebrooks is equal to Montero? Montero has been one of the most hyped offensive players in the last 10 years.
My point is that it is rare that a 20 year old rake at AA. It's not just a "2011" thing. For a 22 year old 3B to put up an 865 OPS in a pitching heavy league like the Eastern League, that's pretty impressive. If raking as a 20 year old is what it takes to make a top 5 list in an organization then those lists are gonna be pretty damn small.
Maybe you're comp of Laird is correct, we'll find out next year. Laird did very well in AA and has sucked in 600 PA's in AAA. Let's see Middlebrooks get his shot at a full season to see if he shows more promise than Laird.
Regarding defense, I've always read he's a solid defensive player with an outstanding arm. Never read any scouting reports saying he was a poor defender. Where was that from?
 
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For a PROSPECT in that league, he is. 23 years old in AAA is borderline for a high level prospect. Plate discipline is what separates a AAAA player from a real prospect. If you cannot be bothered to be discerning at the plate in the middle levels of the minors, major league pitchers will eat you alive. Kinda like Soriano striking out on sliders 2 feet outside in the 2003 world series..
If you take a look at the top 20 OPS's in the Eastern League, the youngest age you'll find is 22. Middlebrooks and 3 others are in that 22-year old grouping.
Tell me again how he's a "touch old" for that level? Because you aren't arguing your case well.
 
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Not likely. A prospect needs to crack at LEAST the top 5 for his organization to make the overall top 100 and objective third party observers don't even list Middlebrooks in the top 10 for the Sox. You make an organizations top 5 by crushing AA at age 20. He may someday develop into a solid back half of the lineup guy, but those guys don't make the top 100 list.

The amusing thing to me is that you probably have never seen Middlebrooks play and would be unable to pick him out of a police lineup. Yet you know for sure that he is not a top 100 prospect because you read it somewhere.
 
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Yeah, I like that you leave out that it's from SoxProspects.com. I will wait to see a list from a non biased spot.

I don't get it - the best information is from those who watch them the most. That writer at SoxProspects is legit enough to be a part time writer at ESPNBoston - where I got that post from.
 
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For a PROSPECT in that league, he is. 23 years old in AAA is borderline for a high level prospect. Plate discipline is what separates a AAAA player from a real prospect. If you cannot be bothered to be discerning at the plate in the middle levels of the minors, major league pitchers will eat you alive. Kinda like Soriano striking out on sliders 2 feet outside in the 2003 world series.

Curious what the truth is about his defense. Someone else in this thread already said his defense is poor.

Youk didn't come into the league until he was 25 - and didn't play full time until he was 27.
 
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