Will Middlebrooks wants to hit, not walk …

The Sox lost 13-0 last night in a rain drenched shellacking. I didn’t go. I couldn’t bring myself, after sitting through the cold the night before, to sit through three hours of drenching rain. I’m glad I didn’t. Watching Alfredo Aceves on a warm day is torture enough. Watching him while wet and cold would have sent me over the edge, not to mention what his four walks and two balks would have done to my mental health. Last night’s game is past. I’ve forgotten it.

This morning, I stumbled on this piece by Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald about Will Middlebrooks. Will, it seems, has no love for taking a walk. That is a bit surprising given what I thought I knew about the Red Sox philosophy about getting on base. Here is Will talking about his plate approach:

“I’m not there to walk. I’m not there to take pitches. If it’s close, I’m going to try to hit into the lights. That’s my job. I’ve never been a guy to walk,’’ said Middlebrooks, who has 20 home runs, 94 strikeouts and just 16 walks in 93 career games. “I’ve always been a guy with strikeouts, and that comes along with hitting for power I think. It’s not for everyone, of course, but for the most part, guys who hit for power, they’re not trying to poke the ball through a hole.

“Obviously, certain situations will dictate when I should do that, but for the most part, I’m trying to hit doubles and homers. I’m not going to sugarcoat that for you. I’m trying to hit homers. I’m trying to hit the ball hard.’’

I wonder if Will expects to have a long career?

I did a little digging on third basemen with low on base percentages. There were 85 players since 1901 to play third base, have fewer then 1000 ABs, and have an on base percentage below .300. Here are just a few you might recognize:

  • Aurelio Rodriguez
  • Dean Palmer
  • Mike Moustakas
  • Charlie Hayes
  • Butch Hobson
  • Matt Williams
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Scott Coolbaugh
  • Phil Hiatt

Not a very comforting list for someone who hopes to have a long and distinguished career. If we expand the criteria to third basemen with a career on base percentage below .320, more then 100 HRs and more then 500 games played (players that most likely lasted at least four years in the majors) we get a list of 25 players:

Rk Player HR OBP G
1 Matt Williams 378 .317 1866
2 Gary Gaetti 360 .308 2507
3 Tim Wallach 260 .316 2212
4 Larry Parrish 256 .318 1891
5 Tony Batista 221 .299 1309
6 Clete Boyer 162 .299 1725
7 Ken McMullen 156 .316 1583
8 Ed Sprague 152 .318 1203
9 Brandon Inge 151 .303 1483
10 Charlie Hayes 144 .316 1547
11 Pedro Feliz 140 .288 1302
12 Joe Crede 140 .304 888
13 Terry Pendleton 140 .316 1893
14 Steve Buechele 137 .316 1334
15 Jim Presley 135 .290 959
16 Mike Pagliarulo 134 .306 1246
17 Frank Malzone 133 .315 1441
18 Aurelio Rodriguez 124 .275 2017
19 David Bell 123 .320 1403
20 Kelly Gruber 117 .307 939
21 Gene Freese 115 .305 1115
22 Jim Morrison 112 .305 1089
23 Max Alvis 111 .302 1014
24 Jack Howell 108 .318 941
25 Randy Jackson 103 .320 955
Generated 4/24/2013.
Unless he changes his ways, I don’t see Middlebrooks as much more then a Tony Batista or Butch Hobson. If he raised his on base percentage to over .340 (but less then .360) he could turn into:
Rk Player HR OBP G
1 Aramis Ramirez 342 .344 1836
2 Troy Glaus 320 .358 1537
3 Ron Cey 316 .354 2073
4 Ken Boyer 282 .349 2034
5 Todd Zeile 253 .346 2158
6 Eric Chavez 250 .342 1505
7 Sal Bando 242 .352 2019
8 Ken Caminiti 239 .347 1760
9 Howard Johnson 228 .340 1531
10 Mike Lowell 223 .342 1601
11 Bob Horner 218 .340 1020
12 Richie Hebner 203 .352 1908
13 Buddy Bell 201 .341 2405
14 Willie Jones 190 .343 1691
15 Bob Bailey 189 .347 1931
16 Melvin Mora 171 .350 1556
17 Jim Ray Hart 170 .345 1125
18 Edwin Encarnacion 162 .343 958
19 Ryan Zimmerman 154 .353 1005
20 Carney Lansford 151 .343 1862
21 Edgardo Alfonzo 146 .357 1506
22 Fernando Tatis 113 .344 949
23 Dave Hollins 112 .358 983
24 Freddie Lindstrom 103 .351 1439
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/24/2013.

Unfortunately, I don’t see him heading in this direction. I expect we’ll see a lot of hot and cold stretches from Middlebrooks, with more cold then hot. I didn’t expect to see Butch Hobson again, but I guess I was wrong.

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