Skip to content

Will Middlebrooks hopes new contact lenses are the key to success in 2014

Mar 30, 2014, 11:15 PM EST

will middlebrooks getty Getty Images

Will Middlebrooks was a consensus top-100 prospect going into the 2012 season and he did not disappoint, blasting 15 home runs with an .835 OPS in 286 plate appearances in the big leagues. He wasn’t nearly as good last season, slashing .227/.271/.425. As it turns out, Middlebrooks’ deteriorating vision might have been at least partially to blame for the lack of offensive output.

As Brian MacPherson writes for the Providence Journal, the Red Sox found this spring that Middlebrooks was seeing 20-25 in his right eye and 20-30 in his left. It’s nothing serious, but having his vision corrected with contact lenses allowed him to once again see the spin on the ball.

“For everyday life, you’d never correct it,” he said. “But for what I do, you need to be able to see the little things. Once I put them in, I could really see the spin on the ball. I was always just reading trajectory of the ball. I was never seeing the spin.”

Middlebrooks was careful not to use his vision as a crutch, explaining why he wasn’t so good last season. The 25-year-old third baseman said, “I wasn’t consistent with my approach and my way of thinking at the plate. That has nothing to do with my vision. That’s just decision-making. But it’s easier when you can see things.”

With Stephen Drew gone, prospect Xander Bogaerts takes over everyday at shortstop, leaving Middlebrooks with plenty of playing time at third base. The Red Sox hope that the opportunity along with the enhanced vision translates to a big season for Middlebrooks.

Latest Posts
  1. Neal Cotts almost retired before signing with the Rangers in 2012

    Jan 30, 2015, 10:50 PM EST

    Neal Cotts Neal Cotts

    Neal Cotts battled numerous injuries and nearly called it quits before the Rangers signed him to a minor league deal in 2012.

  2. Joe Kelly said he’s going to win the 2015 AL Cy Young Award

    Jan 30, 2015, 9:40 PM EST

    Joe Kelly Joe Kelly

    Joe Kelly has some bold words for non-believers.

  3. Yasiel Puig: “[Juan] Uribe’s a fatty”

    Jan 30, 2015, 8:30 PM EST

    Yasiel Puig Yasiel Puig

    Yasiel Puig meant it in a good way!

  4. Rockies sign Omar Quintanilla and Rafael Betancourt

    Jan 30, 2015, 7:20 PM EST

    Rafael Betancourt Rafael Betancourt

    The Rockies addressed their depth on Friday, signing reliever Rafael Betancourt and utility infielder Omar Quintanilla to minor league deals.

  5. Red Sox are willing to trade Edward Mujica

    Jan 30, 2015, 6:10 PM EST

    Edward Mujica Edward Mujica

    The Red Sox are willing to trade reliever Edward Mujica, according to a report.

  6. Four more minor leaguers suspended

    Jan 30, 2015, 4:55 PM EST

    Police Blotter

    MLB has been suspending guys by the truckload lately.

  7. Orioles, Steve Pearce avoid arbitration for $3.7 million

    Jan 30, 2015, 4:26 PM EST

    Steve Pearce Getty Getty Images

    He hit .293 with 21 homers and a .930 OPS in 102 games last season, topping 200 plate appearances for the first time at age 31.

  8. The Braves and Rockies made a trade

    Jan 30, 2015, 4:10 PM EST

    Tampa Bay Rays v Atlanta Braves Getty Images

    A couple of pitchers who don’t profile well in a hitters’ environment for a couple of catchers who have shown a little at the plate. Advantage: Braves.

  9. Red Sox sign former All-Star Alexi Ogando

    Jan 30, 2015, 3:49 PM EST

    Alexi Ogando AP

    Ogando posted a 3.12 ERA in 381 innings from 2010-2013.

  10. Victor Martinez could catch early in the season

    Jan 30, 2015, 3:07 PM EST

    Victor Martinez Victor Martinez

    The lack of a DH and the health of Miguel Cabrera are the determining factors.

  11. Yankees sign Scott Baker

    Jan 30, 2015, 1:04 PM EST

    Scott Baker

    Baker has struggled to regain his form after missing all of 2012 following Tommy John elbow surgery.

  12. Red Sox sign Felipe Paulino

    Jan 30, 2015, 10:49 AM EST

    Felipe Paulino AP

    Paulino was once a young power with lots of upside, but injuries have repeatedly derailed his career.

  13. Red Sox sign former All-Star Bryan LaHair

    Jan 30, 2015, 10:20 AM EST

    Bryan LaHair AP

    LaHair looks destined to go down as one of the least successful All-Stars of all time.

  14. “That’s what Cuba does to you. It leaves you wanting more”

    Jan 30, 2015, 9:18 AM EST

    Cuba

    Must-click material from Jorge Arangure of Vice Sports

  15. Joba Chamberlain is being pretty choosy

    Jan 30, 2015, 8:43 AM EST

    Joba Chamberlain Getty Images

    Even second tier relievers are in demand in the offseason.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Shields (2701)
  2. T. Snider (2675)
  3. D. Viciedo (2146)
  4. M. Scutaro (2125)
  5. F. Gutierrez (2096)