Those numbers seem a bit optimistic considering Middlebrooks’ season-long struggles in 2013 (.227/.271/.425/.696 in 374 plate appearances).
But those numbers are possible. Middlebrooks’ 162-game average numbers over his first 169 major league games are 31 homers, 99 RBIs, a .254 batting average, .294 on-base percentage, .462 slugging percentage and .756 OPS.
That said, Middlebrooks isn’t the grind-it-out, prototypical Red Sox hitter. He swings at too many pitches out of the strike zone and his on-base percentage will continue to suffer if he doesn’t fix that.
The Red Sox should have a backup plan in place if Middlebrooks struggles in April 2014 like he did this past year.
Follow Christopher Smith on Twitter @SmittyOnMLB