Former Reds general manager Jim Bowden, now an analyst for ESPN.com, listed Will Middlebrooks as one of five rookies with the best long-term futures in the major leagues.
Bowden's column, which can be read by those with ESPN Insider accounts, said this in part about Middlebrooks:
"His youth, energy and ability to enjoy the game seemed to change the energy on the struggling Red Sox. His at-bats are consistent; he has the same approach on every plate appearance.
"At 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, the Texas native is gifted with terrific bat speed, tremendous power and is very athletic for his size. He’s got good range at third with a strong arm and has fit in well in the clubhouse. He profiles as an All-Star-caliber player. No, he probably will never be a Gold Glover like Adrian Beltre or Evan Longoria, but he certainly can be an above-average fielding third baseman. He is a fundamentally sound player. Middlebrooks’ style and makeup are cast in the mold of other hard-nosed Red Sox players like Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and, of course, Kevin Youkilis. He should be a middle-of-the-order bat for the Red Sox over the next decade.
"Middlebrooks' ceiling: All-Star"