The upper-deck homer is a lost art in this age of open-outfield stadiums offering breathtaking views of city skylines and bays. Toronto's Rogers Centre is an exception, though, and Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks targeted those cheap seats on Sunday. Middlebrooks hit three homers against the Jays, including a fifth-inning shot off R.A. Dickey that traveled an estimated 449 feet. Consider Sox starter Jon Lester impressed:
"He had about 2,000 feet of homers," Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester said of Middlebrooks. "He obviously feels pretty good at the plate. It's fun to watch."
You know you're doing something right when Jays fans are willing to run on the field and risk NFL-style hits just to shake your hand. Middlebrooks clobbered a pair of R.A. Dickey fastballs, then took Dave Bush deep on another fastball to complete his round-tripper trifecta. Granted, knuckleballer Dickey and Bush possess heaters that couldn't get a speeding ticket. But Middlebrooks has proven to be one of the game's best fastball hitters since his MLB debut last May.
Check out Middlebrooks' slugging percentage by pitch location against fastballs from 2012-13. If it's high or inside, Will is killing it:
Middlebrooks is slugging .667 against fastballs during his brief big league career, which is 222 points above the league average from 2012-13. In fact, he ranks in the top 10 among MLB batters in fastball slugging (minimum 500 fastballs seen):
Highest fastball slugging percentage, 2012-13
Kinda makes you want to shake his hand, no? Just wait until after the game.