The 23-year-old has spent the past four-plus seasons in the Red Sox farm system, working his way to a point where he could get a shot at the big league level at any given moment. But as he watches the likes of Bryce Harper and Mike Trout — two of baseball's premier prospects — get opportunities in the majors at the ages of 19 and 20, respectively, Middlebrooks isn't holding ill will toward anyone, as he knows his time will come before long.
"I wouldn't say I'm jealous at all," Middlebrooks said Tuesday on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan. "That's awesome for those guys; awesome for their careers. For Bryce [Harper] to get up there at 19, that's unbelievable. So no, I wouldn't say I'm jealous at all."
Middlebrooks has at least grabbed everyone's attention this season. The young third baseman is hitting .348 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs through 23 games at Triple-A Pawtucket. He's also shown an ability to swing the bat, but those numbers are truly a reflection of the hard work he put in over the offseason.
With Kevin Youkilis out of the Red Sox lineup recently, there's been speculation of whether Middlebrooks will soon be packing his bags for Boston to provide some added depth. Until that happens, though, Middlebrooks is content on producing in whichever situation he's placed.
"I was always told and always thought of myself as a kind of a one-level-a-year guy, and just keep working and keep getting better, and learn from your failures," he said. "I think so far that's exactly what's happened."
Considering his talent, it's hard to imagine Middlebrooks doing anything besides baseball, but he was once a highly touted high school football player, even lacing them up alongside Oregon standout and current 49ers running back LaMichael James. In fact, Middlebrooks admits that football was his first love, and that it wasn't until his junior year of high school that he realized he had a chance to get drafted in baseball.
Middlebrooks was then drafted by the Sox in the fifth round of the 2007 draft, which kicked off his lengthy minor league journey. So far, that journey that includes inking a $925,000 signing bonus and getting engaged to a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.
In other words, life is good for Middlebrooks, and it'll be even better when he gets his long-awaited call-up. Until then, however, he plans to remain aggressive at the plate — a strategy that's worked so far.
Listen to the audio below to hear more from Middlebrooks' appearance on Dennis and Callahan.