Boston Red Sox rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks has been named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending June 24th. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
Middlebrooks batted .625 (10-for-16) with three doubles, three homers, 10 RBI and six runs scored in six games. Among A.L. leaders, the 23-year-old finished tops in batting average, slugging percentage (1.375), on-base percentage (.632) and total bases (22), tied for second in doubles and extra-base hits (6) and tied for fourth in hits and homers.
In an Interleague matchup with the Miami Marlins on Tuesday, the rookie from Greenville, Texas singled, scored a run and provided the Red Sox with an insurance run with an RBI-double in the sixth inning in Boston’s 7-5 win. After launching a two-run homer in his only plate appearance off the bench in a 15-5 Boston victory on Wednesday, Middlebrooks provided plenty of heroics on Thursday with a two-run blast to spark a three-run eighth inning as Boston stormed back to defeat Miami, 6-5, for their fifth straight win overall. Middlebrooks finished 3-for-4 on the night, which included a pair of run-scoring singles earlier in the contest. Thursday’s three-game sweep at home gave Boston their first sweep of that length or more at Fenway since July 22-24, 2011. On Saturday, Boston’s fifth-round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Liberty-Eylau High School in Texarkana, Texas went 3-for-4 with a single, double, home run and two RBI for his fourth three-hit game of the season as the Red Sox doubled up the Atlanta Braves, 8-4. After finishing a triple shy of the cycle, Middlebrooks boosted his season average to .331 with nine homers and 33 RBI and, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, became just the fifth player since 1920 (when Baseball began tracking RBI as an official statistic) – and the first since Albert Pujols in 2001 – to reach those minimums in his first 40 career games. Since making his Major League debut on May 2nd, Middlebrooks is batting .326 (47-for-144) with 10 doubles, nine home runs, 34 RBI and 23 runs scored in 41 games. He leads all A.L. rookies in homers and RBI, and he is third in the league in hits, runs and doubles.
Other noteworthy performances last week included Middlebrooks’ Red Sox teammate Daniel Nava (.500, 11 H, 3 2B); New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano (.286, 4 HR, 5 RBI, 6 R); Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout (.440, 11 H, 8 R, 5 SB); and Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Justin Masterson (CG, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 9 K vs. CIN on June 20th).
In recognition of his American League Player of the Week Award, Will Middlebrooks will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.