Though it seems like they lose every night and are on the brink of a 100 loss season, the Red Sox are only one game below .500 and have scored the most runs in the American League East. The Sox are sneaking around the fringes of the AL East without any sort of meaningful contribution from third base (due to Kevin Youkilis’ injury) and a pitching staff that…well you know.

With more and more questions about the health of Yook, the Red Sox turn to their minor league system, calling up top prospect Will Middlebrooks as well as long-time big league pitcher Aaron Cook.

Middlebrooks posted great numbers this season at AAA Pawtucket, his second brief stint at AAA. The Red Sox hope that Middlesbrooks can deliver value both at the plate and in the field, as he is a highly regarded defensive third baseman.

ZiPS projects WMB as a below average hitter based on his age and minor league numbers. His .247/.283/.405 makes sense when you consider his initial struggles in the International League. His strong hitting at the big league level helped bolster his profile among prospect watchers.

Does this help the Red Sox? If Middlebrooks can outproduce those conservative projections and give the Sox even average defense at third base, he is an upgrade over the Ghost of Youkilis and a Statue of Scrapy Nick Punto. The defensive boost can only help a struggling pitching staff looking for a boost. The addition of slick-fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias earlier today suggests the Red Sox are going to focus as much on preventing runs as creating them.