With 26-year old third baseman Will Middlebrooks struggling yet again, it’s time to wonder what the Red Sox are going to do about the gap of productivity at the hot corner. After a promising 2012 campaign during which he hit .288 with 15 homers, Middlebrooks has regressed considerably across the next two seasons. Now, slashing a putrid .188/.253/.266, the Boston front office cannot keep patiently waiting for their third baseman to show signs of life, rather they have to look elsewhere for an answer.
Well have no fear, Garin Cecchini is knocking on the door. Called up to the big leagues due to September roster expansion, the 23-year old will have his opportunity to make his impact on the club.
Simply put, Cecchini has little left to prove in the minor leagues, and his career .298/.396/.433 slash line backs that up. This year was his first season at Triple-A, and he hardly looked overmatched, although his strikeout rate has risen. Cecchini has always been known for two things: his ability to put up quality at-bats and his superior baserunning skills. In his minor league career, he has managed to swipe 97 bags while only getting caught 18 times, despite scouts saying that he does not project for plus-speed. Cecchini has a knack for baserunning, a rare developed trait that goes far beyond his years, and is especially difficult to find in a third baseman.
The fiery third baseman also possesses the intangible clubhouse presence that would fit in perfectly with the personalities of Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli. Cecchini has been praised by his coaches for his phenomenal work ethic and competitiveness that has embodied the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox have their eye toward 2015 contention, and Cecchini has all of the right qualities to contribute immediately at their weakest position. Rather than export premium talent in a trade for a veteran or over-spending on an already-thin free agent market, if and when Middlebrooks has exhausted his options in Boston as a starter, the front office should look no farther than the 23-year old talent in Garin Cecchini.