American League’s Hot Corner Renaissance
The recent trade of Kevin Youkilis from the Red Sox to the White Sox signaled the end of an era in Boston. Youkilis was one of the few remaining members of the Red Sox team that won the 2004 World Series and ended 86 years of New England madness. The skids for Youkilis’ departure were greased by the impressive play of young third baseman Will Middlebrooks.
The Red Sox recalled Middlebrooks in early May when Youkilis went down with an injury. The 23-year-old Middlebrooks clearly had no intention of returning to Pawtucket. After four games in the big leagues Middlebrooks had slammed three homers and knocked in nine. He hasn’t stopped hitting since. In 43 games with the Red Sox, as of June 27, Middlebrooks has slammed nine round-trippers, driven in 36, and posted a .923 OPS. By comparison Youkilis had just four home runs and 14 RBI in an almost identical number of at bats. Boston isn’t the only American League town where a young third baseman is providing an offensive boost.