There is the distinct possibility, or perhaps certainty, that Middlebrooks comes back down to earth after his meteoric rise from Triple-A Pawtucket to now. For a rookie whose impact was supposed to be felt next season, his numbers are great.
In 48 games this season, he is batting .298, with nine home runs and 37 RBI. He has tacked on 11 doubles and scored 25 runs.
The .298 average looks great on paper but is actually a little worrisome. It was as recent as June 23 that he was hitting .331.
Players slump. It is just a fact of baseball. It’s how players handle their slumps that determine how long they last.
Look no further than Bryce Harper. Perhaps the most hyped prospect in baseball recently had an 11-game stretch where he went 8-for-43. The difference is Harper did not take the job of a beloved veteran with two World Series rings.
Middlebrooks himself is in a mini-slump right now. Since June 24 (eight games), he has hit .138. He only has four hits and has struck out seven times.
There is pressure on Middlebrooks not to fall into any prolonged slumps. If Middlebrooks presses too hard, a slump is a distinct possibility. With Youkilis out of the picture, a prolonged slump from Middlebrooks could sink the Red Sox this season.