Sure, it’s only 12 been games since Will Middlebrooks was activated on August 1, but the third baseman has yet to hit a home run or show any sort of power since making his return to the Boston Red Sox after fracturing a finger in his right hand in May.
With players like Garin Cecchini and even Brock Holt waiting in the wings, Middlebrooks really needs to start showing signs of improvement at the plate.
In 41 at-bats entering August 18, the 26-year-old has hit .171 with a .220 slugging percentage and a .209 OBP. The .429 OPS is the worst among players on the team with the same amount of games/at-bats since the All-Star break.
The 10 strikeouts to two walks is right around his career average, but Middlebrooks has really been better at putting together good at-bats by taking pitches he used to swing at. He may be swinging through a lot of fastballs in the zone that he used to crush, but eventually those balls should be flying off his bat.
The plate approach is one sign that he is working on becoming a better overall hitter all while dealing with swelling and pain in the same fractured finger.
With six weeks left in the season, Middlebrooks needs to just show the Red Sox he can stay healthy while also being a power source towards the bottom of the lineup. If that means still striking out at a high rate and having a batting average that isn’t something to write home about, then the team should be all for it, especially if he keeps the long at-bats going.
The pop will eventually come for the right-handed slugger and once he hits his first since his activation more should come. First he has to show that he can stay on the field for an extended period of time.