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October 30, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Top 40 Season in Review: Jose Iglesias

2012 Teams: Lowell Spinners(rehab)/Pawtucket Red Sox/Boston Red Sox
2012 Stats: .266/.318/.306, 1 HR, 27 BB, 46 K, 353 AB in Pawtucket; .118/.200/.191, 1 HR, 4 BB, 16 K, 68 AB in Boston


Pre-2012: Signed as an international free agent in 2009 for a $6.25 million bonus, Iglesias certainly came as advertised in one respect; he is among the best defensive shortstops in professional baseball. Scouts commend him for his fluidity, his quick hands, his footwork, and his instincts. There is no doubt that Iglesias is a gold-glove caliber defender; the doubt surrounds his bat. The organization aggressively assigned him to Double-A Portland to begin his professional career in 2010. He held his own against Eastern League pitching, posting a .285 batting average, but a meager .315 on-base percentage. Unfortunately, Iglesias suffered a broken knuckle and missed some time that season as well. 

Still, the organization continued to challenge Iglesias to start the 2011 season with a promotion to Pawtucket for his age 21 season, perhaps with the hope that he would figure things out enough at the plate to earn a promotion to Boston. Even with his outstanding defense, a line of .235/.285/.269 was not enough to justify a promotion, although he did make his major league debut in May. In his brief stints with Boston, Iglesias managed a .333 batting average, but with only a sample size of six games.

2012 Season in Review: Iglesias entered 2012 with a small chance to win a spot on Boston's 25-man roster, but it was ultimately decided that he needed some more seasoning in Triple-A to develop his bat. Iglesias returned to Pawtucket to start the 2012 season, where he certainly improved, but ultimately lacked consistency at the plate. Iglesias posted a line of .266/.318/.306 over 353 at-bats. After a slow start, he showed particular streaks of brilliance in both May and August where batted .341 and .329, respectively. Iglesias suffered a lower-back injury at the end of May that forced him on the disabled list for just under a month, and it took him some time to get back up to speed after a short rehab assignment to Lowell and his return to Pawtucket. Iglesias was called up to Boston at the end of August for his first extended stint in the majors, and while he certainly impressed with some fantastic defensive plays, he still failed to show he could  shake it in the majors with his bat. In 68 at-bats with the big league club, Iglesias posted a .118/.200/.191 line. 

2013 Outlook: After 710 Triple-A at-bats, a return to the minor leagues would seem redundant for the shortstop. With Mike Aviles traded to the Blue Jays in exchange for John Farrell, the shortstop position is potentially available if the Red Sox are willing to hand the job over to the young Cuban. At this point, Iglesias is likely destined for the bottom of the lineup. Iglesias still needs to improve his offensive numbers if he is to be the everyday player that his defense would warrant. Iglesias has also had injuries that have required him to be on the disabled list each year he has been with the organization, although there have been fair reasons for those injuries, such as the first being caused by a pitch hitting him in the hand. 

At this point, Iglesias' defense has gotten him to the major leagues, but his bat is what will make him stick, if given the chance. The question remains: Will the Red Sox be the club to give it to him?

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