Monday, February 18, 2013

The Future of The Boston Red Sox: Bogaerts, Bradley, Middlebrooks

Known for their philosophy of valuing home-grown talent as the best option for building a successful franchise, the Boston Red Sox spent much of the past decade building around pieces developed in their own minor-league system. Among said players are Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jon Lester. Now, after finishing below .500 in what has been the first instance in my lifetime, they once again turn towards the futures of their franchise to build around. This upcoming season, in my opinion, will be interesting, as many of the top prospects in the organization are not immediately ready to make an impact. While whether their young prospects can make an impact this season is up for debate, nonetheless I still believe the Red Sox are going to play with a bit of a chip on their shoulder, potentially making a quick turnaround from last season and vying for a playoff spot. Over the next three days I will examine one prospect per day in relation to their potential, skills, and also their card history in their promising, young careers.

1. Will Middlebrooks- 3B

After a breakout rookie season in which he hit .288 with 15 HR's and 54 RBI in only 75 games, he is already drawing comparisons (Sporting News 2013 Baseball Preview issue) to long-tenured 3B Scott Rolen, currently of the Cincinnati Reds. Middlebrooks, like Rolen, has spectacular arm strength as well as a great glove at the hot corner. Notably, Rolen regularly hit about .280 with  30 HR and 100+ RBI, which Middlebrooks could average in a complete season as Sporting News pointed out. Middlebrooks' swing is one that generates so much power in such an easy manner, which in some sense parallels Sox pitcher Daniel Bard's effortless delivery on his 98 MPH+ fastball. He made the occasional rookie mistake last year, but he was generally cool, calm and collected at the plate and in the field. He is a player I'm beginning to focus part of my collection on. I currently have his chrome Bowman DP&P Rookie Card, in addition to a few other cards of him, and I'm looking to hopefully purchase some on eBay soon.

In terms of cards, his Chrome RC's are selling for around $2-3 on the secondary market. That doesn't seem like a lot, nor does the $8-20 range for his relics, but his Auto cards are selling anywhere for $40-250 depending on the variations and numbering. Here are a listings on eBay currently going on for some of his key cards.

1.2012 Topps 5-Star RC Auto-
2.2012 Bowman Sterling RC Autograph-
3.2012 Bowman Sterling Dual Auto w/ Jackie Bradley Jr. 4/5-

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