Results tagged ‘ Jose Iglesias ’
By Sam Dykstra
When the Red Sox beat out the Yankees among other teams for the services of Cuban defector Jose Iglesias in 2009, many believed Boston had finally secured its shortstop of the future. Since Nomar Garciaparra’s departure in 2004, a revolving door of Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Alex Gonzalez, Julio Lugo and Nick Green had all been considered regulars at the position. With his ultra-slick glove, the then-19-year-old Iglesias was a player that people thought would bring stability to the 6 spot.
Four years and three shortstops — Marco Scutaro, Mike Aviles, Stephen Drew — later and Iglesias still finds himself at Triple-A Pawtucket, unable to permanently crack the Red Sox starting lineup due to a lagging bat.
This could be the year he makes his final case.
The 23-year-old — yes, he’s still only 23 — reportedly put on 10 pounds of muscle and worked out with former AL MVP Dustin Pedroia in the offseason, and the results are already beginning to show.
Consider Iglesias’ April.
Admittedly, the .242 average and .288 OBP through 17 games are in line with — actually, just slightly below — his career averages at Triple-A Pawtucket. But then, there’s that third part of every slash line — the slugging percentage. That number stands at .419.
That may not be particularly impressive at this point — it ranks eighth among PawSox who have seen regular time this season — but the number is actually .113 points higher than the .306 slugging percentage in 88 International League games a year ago. It also doesn’t include his six-game stretch with Boston to start the year, when he went 9-for-20 with two doubles. (He slugged .550 in that short stretch.) To put it into perspective, Iglesias has slugged higher than .400 at Triple-A in just one month before this April (May 2012, .427).
That statistical spike directly derives from a jump in a related category. The Cuban native homered three times in the month of April. A fairly pedestrian number to be sure, but here’s the thing. Iglesias had homered four times in 1,053 professional at-bats (296 games), including his time in the Majors and Minors, entering this season. He’s at three already through 82 at-bats (23 games) between Boston and Pawtucket in 2013. No one’s calling Iglesias the next Ernie Banks as a power-hitting shortstop, but those numbers are encouraging to say the least.
“After seeing his at-bats tonight and in the spring, it definitely looked like he was progressing both with his strength and his bat speed,” Pawtucket manager Gary DiSarcina told MiLB.com after Iglesias’s first homer. “He spent his time up there doing great things, and he’s trying to show everyone that he’s not just a slap hitter. He’s looked good and had a great attitude. Hopefully, we don’t have him too long.”
There’s not only a difference in performance at the plate, but also what appears to be a change in overall approach to the game.
“I just think with Iggy it’s a maturity process,” Red Sox first base coach Arnie Beyeler, who managed Iglesias in Pawtucket for two straight years, told WEEI.com’s Rod Bradford before the season began. “The whole experience. We all know he has a lot of ability. He just has to learn how to control things, do what he needs to do and be an everyday professional. Every winter he comes in with a little better attitude and a little more work ethic every year and I think we’re seeing more of that this year.”
Compare the former PawSox skipper’s original comments with the ones made at the time of Iglesias’ demotion earlier this month.
“I first saw him when I came in at 2 p.m. and he had a huge smile on his face and looked ready to go,” DiSarcina said. “You can tell he loves the game of baseball and just has this infectious attitude in the clubhouse. Look, he knows Stephen Drew is the starting shortstop. But he’s not pouting, he’s not being a cancer. He’s continued doing what he’s doing. Everything I got on him was outstanding, and it’s just a matter of time before he’s back.”
The fact remains, however, that Iglesias is currently blocked at shortstop by Drew, who Boston signed to a one-year deal in the offseason. The 30-year-old, who missed the start of the season with a concussion, hasn’t exactly been wowing those who follow the Sox, batting .154/.267/.250 and striking out 17 times in 52 at- bats over 16 April games.
If Iglesias can continue to show an improved bat as 2013 pro, he might not only pressure Drew to take over the starting job this season but for seasons to come as well.
I am more than halfway through with our Defensive Gems series on MiLB.com. In case you are unfamiliar with it, here is the stock copy we print at the beginning of every edition:
As documentarian Ken Burns noted, baseball is the one game in which the defense — not the offense — possesses the ball. With this in mind, MiLB.com continues its “Defensive Gems” series. Over the next nine weeks, we will feature a top prospect at each position who also happens to be an elite defender. In deciding which players to focus on, six scouting directors were polled and extensive research was conducted…
Here are the five stories of the nine total that are completed: Click on the player’s name to be taken to the story:
|POS||Subjects with story links|
|C||Austin Hedges (SD: A pupil of Brad Ausmus)|
|2B||Carlos Sanchez (CWS: A good defender at three positions)|
|3B||Mike Olt (TEX: A slow-roller expert with soft hands)|
|SS||Francisco Lindor (CLE: A natural ballplayer that is “Cano-ish”)|
|CF||Mason Williams (NYY: A gifted athlete making acrobatic plays)|
Twenty Top 100 Prospects and Their Chances of Making Opening Day Rosters at The Start of SpringTraining
Today is Friday, Feb. 15. In baseball terms, it is the “voluntary date on which all non-World Baseball Classic position players may be invited to Spring Training.” But most Major Leaguers, from the veterans to rookies, are already in camp. It is the rooks, or would-be rooks, that we focus on here and now. Turns out that 20 members of MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects have at least a reasonable shot of cracking their first Opening Day roster. They are below. Let me know in the comment section what you think of my assessment regarding which ballplayers might/might not make their respective clubs.
A links advisory: Click on the bolded team name for the MLB depth chart; click on the player name for his bio and MiLB stats; and the number in parentheses listed after the player name is his overall ranking in our Top 100 list.
- Questions worth asking: Can Profar unseat veteran Elvis Andrus at shortstop, or do the Rangers shift him to another position (2B, CF) in order to get his dynamic talents into the Majors immediately? Still 19, doesn’t he need a full season at Triple-A to polish his tools? Speaking of positional changes, where does Olt play? He’s a very good third baseman, but isn’t Adrian Beltre, who is signed for three more years, outstanding on the hot corner? Can Olt slug his way into the starting right field spot, or should he join Profar at Triple-A Round Rock? Does Perez finally put it together in Texas’ fifth rotation slot? Can he hold off vet righty Colby Lewis to make his first April rotation?
- Chances worth guessing: Profar (50%), Olt (50%) and Perez (75%)
- Questions: At 20 and with just 23 Minor League starts under his belt, is Bundy ready? He could probably hold his own right now, sure, but would getting beat up early on hurt him down the road? How much better does he have to be than the Matusz-Arrieta-Britton types to convince Baltimore to hand him the No. 5 starter role?
- Chances: 25%
- Questions: With Matt Joyce stationed in left field and Desmond Jennings in center, why not start out with Myers in right? Does Tampa Bay want to delay initializing his arbitration clock, or would Andrew Friedman and Co. rather go with the proven Ben Zobrist out there? With perhaps the deepest starting rotation in baseball, do Odorizzi and Archer have much of a shot? Would a trade of ace David Price make sense, given the unbelievable depth in able arms? Will Odorizzi and Archer foster the Minors’ best 1-2 punch at Triple-A Durham?
- Chances: Myers (50%), Odorizzi (25%) and Archer (25%)
In the last edition of this feature, we featured a slick-fielding, light-hitting Cuban shortstop and the three Minor League clubs he has played for. We don’t mean to typecast, but that’s just what Blue Jay-turned Marlin Adeiny Hechavarria is. Traded in that humongous November deal, Hechavarria is also similar to the Red Sox’s Jose Iglesias in these ways: He is a Top 100 prospect (No. 82) that is stuck in the in-between world that covers the distance between the Majors and Triple-A. If Hechavarria is in fact Miami-bound, here is a gallery of him, in every uni he’s donned to date.
Click on any picture to begin the slideshow. For all past editions of Prospect Uniformed, head here.
Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias (bio, stats) is a shortstop that isn’t a consistent hitter and a 22-year-old who has played parts of two seasons in the Majors. But make no mistake. The Cuban-born Iglesias is still considered a top prospect — the 96th best prospect in the Minors, in fact, according to our new Top 100. Why? Few shortstops make plays he can’t.
Here is a gallery of Iglesias, in every uni he’s donned to date. Click on any picture to begin the slideshow. For all past editions of Prospect Uniformed, head here.
Squeezed Out … of the Infield: Are Astros, Giants, D-backs and Red Sox Bridging to/Blocking Prospects?
Editor’s note: This is the second part of a three-part offseason series, “Squeezed Out.” Part one can be read here. For more information on the players mentioned below, click on the linked, underlined text.
MLB veterans: 1B Carlos Pena (signed through 2013)
MiLB prospects: 1B Jonathan Singleton (has played AA-ball)
Bridging/Blocking: This is a clear bridging arrangement. Singleton, 21, hit 21 homers in his first Texas League season last year. He should hit for average and power in the Majors while striking out his fair share. He’ll never be as good defensively as stopgap Pena, but an NL Central exec recently told me that he thinks Singleton is an above-average defender and moves well for being a 235-pounder. He is MLB.com’s No. 25 overall prospect.
MLB veterans: 2B Marco Scutaro (signed through 2015)
MiLB prospects: 2B/SS Joe Panik (has played High-A-ball)
Bridging to/Blocking: Depending on how fast Panik moves through Double-A and Triple-A — and I think he’ll move fast — this is a blocking. Forget the fact that the Giants overpaid to keep the 37-year-old Scutaro. Panik, at 22 is very polished and is probably already as good as a defender as Scutaro. He is still playing shortstop in the Minors but will switch to second long-term with Brandon Crawford entrenched there in San Francisco. It would have been wiser to sign a veteran second baseman to a one- or two-year deal.
MLB veterans: 3B Eric Chavez (signed through 2013)
MiLB prospects: 3B Matt Davidson (has played AA-ball)
Bridging to/Blocking: A smart bridging here. The D-backs, who could also acquire young third baseman Mike Olt from the Rangers later this winter, appear set on the hot corner for the next couple seasons. The lefty-hitting Chavez and righty-hitting Chris Johnson, who was acquired last season from the Astros, will split time there until Davidson is ready to go. Davidson excelled at Double-A in 2012, hitting 23 homers, and will begin next spring at Triple-A Reno. He is MLB.com’s No. 41 overall prospect.
MLB veterans: SS Stephen Drew (signed through 2013)
MiLB prospects: SS Jose Iglesias (has played in Majors)
Bridging to/Blocking: This one can be seen two ways. If you think Iglesias can be an everyday shortstop in the Majors, you’ll see this is a clear blocking. If you’re in the Iglesias-needs-more-seasoning-at-Triple-A-camp, this is more of a simple bridging. I am not sure what to make of Iglesias, who has a great glove but suspect bat. But consider that he turns 23 on Saturday. Ostensibly, he has time to develop his swing. Drew gives him that time, so we’ll call it a bridging.
MLB veterans: SS Yunel Escobar (traded for, signed through 2015)
MiLB prospects: SS Hak-Ju Lee (has played AA-ball)
Bridging/Blocking: This is a bridging, and a shrewd one at that. Escobar, acquired from the Blue Jays, gives Tampa Bay a talented cost-effective option (he has club options in ’14 and ’15) until Lee is ready. The 22-year-old South Korean is an exceptional defender but has work to do on his swing. He is MLB.com’s No. 32 overall prospect.
MLB veterans: 3B Michael Young (traded for, signed through 2013)
MiLB prospects: 3B Cody Asche (has played AA-ball)
Bridging/Blocking: This is also a bridging arrangement, though the Phils may need another stopgap to fill the space between Young’s exit next fall and Ashce’s entrance; Asche, featured recently in Lost and Found, is at least a year — and probably two years — from the bigs.