As the remaining position players make the journey to Fort Myers today, a young star has been opening eyes on the field. Jose Iglesias, a Cuban defect that the Red Sox signed in September, has caught the attention of the media and teammates. At just 20 years old, the Red Sox may have found their SS of the future.
He’s awesome. I watched him take ground balls the other day and he’s incredible. I had heard about him and read about him and he’s what everybody said. His hands are really good. He’ll get stronger, too. He’s only 20. He has a strong arm, too. He’s going to be a player. Those are some of the best hands I have ever seen. – Dustin Pedroia on Jose Iglesias
To a person, everyone has been impressed with Iglesias’s defensive ability thus far this Spring. A man who is not afraid to express his opinion, Dustin Pedroia, was shocked to see how great of a player he is already (as seen in the quote above). Considering Pedroia may well be Iglesias’s double-play partner in a few years, that’s a great sign for the future.
After reading Pedroia’s quote about Iglesias, I couldn’t help but begin to imagine what the middle infield of the Sox would look like in 2011 or 2012. Pedroia would be the elder statesman and would be able to teach and guide Iglesias at the major league level. If this young kid can improve his ability in the batter’s box, then he could be, dare I say, the first franchise SS since Nomar’s departure.
I don’t want to get ahead of myself and jump the gun on Igelsias’s future, but he has impressed fans as well. My friend went to the Red Sox Foundation player development autograph session and said Iglesias was the nicest player at the event. His work ethic and attitude are off the charts and his talent is that of a more advanced, mature player.
The question I have been asked a few times this spring is, “Will Iglesias surpass Lowrie and be the back-up SS at the major league level?” I highly doubt it. The Red Sox want Iglesias to learn and improve by playing everyday. By sitting on the Red Sox bench, Iglesias will be able to learn from other players, but will miss out on the opportunity to play in live games daily. At age 20, Iglesias can benefit greatly from a year or two at the minor league level, improving on his offensive game.
That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Iglesias spend some time at Fenway after the September 1st roster expansion. If the team believes he will be the SS of the future, some major league experience will be extremely valuable. Keep an eye out for this young talent as he develops and grows into a more complete player.