Will Middlebrooks continued his dominating play Thursday night, coming through in the clutch for the Red Sox. With Boston trailing 5-3 in the eighth inning, it was Middlebrooks' two-run home run that tied the game, setting the stage for an eventual Sox win.
His blast set up Daniel Nava, who hit the game-winning RBI single later in the inning, allowing Boston to win the game 6-5 and complete the sweep of the Miami Marlins. Middlebrooks went 3-for-4 on Thursday with four RBIs.
The 23-year-old has performed on the field despite inconsistent playing time, sharing some starts with Kevin Youkilis. He is currently hitting .316 with eight home runs and 31 RBI on the season.
Although he has been a necessary spark for the Red Sox, Middlebrooks is not the only rookie standout this season.
Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish is 9-5 on the season, with a 3.45 ERA. The right-handed rookie from Japan has dominated over long innings as of late, allowing only two earned runs over eight innings in both of his last starts.
Yoennis Cespedes proved he can come through in the clutch just like Middlebrooks. The Oakland Athletics rookie center fielder hit a three-run, walkoff home run against the Los Angeles Dogers on Thursday. He now has a .279 batting average, to go along with seven home runs and 30 RBI.
L.A. Angels center fielder Mike Trout has been on fire at the plate, with a .338 batting average, six home runs and 28 RBI.
White Sox right-handed reliever Addison Reed has been a steady arm in the bullpen. He has recorded eight saves with 25 strike outs, with a 4.37 ERA.
Which one of these five AL rookies is the early favorite for American League Rookie of the Year?