|©2013 Kayla Chadwick|
2012: 75 games, .288 BA, .325 OBP, .509 SLG, 15 HR, 54 RBI
2013 projection: 153 games, .277 BA, .316 OBP, .490 SLG, 29 HR, 99 RBI
2013: 94 games, .227 BA, .271 OBP, .425 SLG, 17 HR, 49 RBI
2014 projection: 145 games, .266 BA, .310 OBP, .490 SLG, 32 HR, 102 RBI
Clearly Bill James and co. don't expect that trend to continue in 2014, as they have him down to join the 30HR/100RBI club next season. Of course, Middlebrooks' position is currently in flux, as the Red Sox still have interest in Stephen Drew, and a roster with Drew, Bogaerts, and Middlebrooks would likely make Middlebrooks the odd man out - at least for a while.
Still, Middlebrooks' upside is much too high for the Red Sox to squander his talent by making him ride the bench too often - indeed, his potential is one of the greatest points of leverage the Red Sox have in their pursuit of a team-friendly contract with Drew.