No matter what happens in the 2012 season, Kevin Youkilis will go down as a historic player in the Red Sox organization. However, the rapid emergence of Will Middlebrooks (above) has put Youkilis’ future with the club in jeopardy. Before coming up to the bigs, Middlebrooks was widely regarded as the number one prospect in the Red Sox farm system. The 23-year-old has done incredibly well filling in for the injured Youk, meaning Boston brass will have some tough decisions to make when Youkilis returns.
Middlebrooks has made a serious splash upon entering the big leagues (.435 with 3 HR and 9 RBI in less than 5 games). The youngster left Tuesday night’s clash against Kansas City in the 2nd after tweaking his hamstring, but his injury appears to be minor. Given Youk’s recent durability issues, many believe that Middlebrooks’ ascent could lead to Kevin’s exit. There are rumblings that Middlebrooks could move to the outfield when Youkilis returns, but some think the wunderkind could steal the starting job. That could force Youk into a utility role or even to be traded. No one is sure how the new Red Sox regime will handle this situation, but it sure is causing a stir. Regardless of the outcome, having to chose between a proven vet and an up-and-coming young star seems like a great problem for Bobby Valentine to have.