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Will Middlebrooks’ mental game is the most important facet of his performance in 2013. He has to have the confidence to not fall into his sophomore slump.
Middlebrooks was given his chance to shine when Bobby Valentine gave Kevin Youkilis the boot. In 75 games the third baseman notched 15 homers and 45 RBI. However, ESPN's scouting report notes having Middlebrooks on the roster means the Sox are hoping he can produce in clutch situations, not day-to-day batting averages.
Great resources surround the rookie, with David Ortiz as his mentor and former third baseman Mike Lowell as a part-time coach.
Middlebrooks said, in his blog on ESPN.com, the biggest difference between the spring training last and in 2013: “I’m no longer stuck in the corner of the locker room scared to open my mouth. I’m not sure if you’d say I have a voice or not in here, but I know I won’t get thrown into a trash can if I speak now.”
Here’s to hoping a second-year slump bypasses Middlebrooks.