The once highly improbable yet now approaching rookie of the year conversation surrounding Jose Iglesias has resulted in a decided turn of the tables on the left side of Boston’s infield. Iglesias is in and Will Middlebrooks has been sent to Pawtucket. How did this happen? Iglesias won the job. Period. End of story.
Since the very first day at Fort Myers Iglesias has been pressing – hard – to make sure that he’s in the middle of the conversation when it comes to infielders, utility or otherwise. As the Sox broke for spring training the knock was the same; Iggy needed to learn how to hit better than his .207 minor league career average if he was to survive. He did more than that.
After a strong spring training, fate intervened when Stephen Drew was hit in the head in March and wasn’t ready to start the season. Iglesias got the nod and made the most of it – for six games. He remained red hot during that stretch. Then Drew came back and Iglesias was sent down. He languished in the minors, reverting back to his weak hitting form.
When Middlebrooks’ back woes finally sidelined him Iglesias and Pedro Ciriaco were both called up. Ciriaco cracked and was traded to San Diego for a player to be named later and Iglesias was thrown in a position he had never played in the majors. He has thrived to date, hitting .419 in 117 at bats, while continuing to lead the team in on base percentage.
Hardly the classic power hitting third baseman, Iglesias has, however, continued to hit the cover off the ball, get on, get over and get in. With 100 less at bats than Drew he’s breathing down Drew’s neck in number of hits. He has made some incredible plays already at third base – three in one game recently against the Tigers. And that in sum total is what has Middlebrooks riding a bus while Iggy has suddenly become the toast of the town.
Iglesias will not perform at this level over the course of an entire season. If, at this point, Iglesias were to drop his average by 100 points and perform in the field in the same way the the rest of the season the Sox would look to get a real third baseman, move Iglesias back to his natural position and dump Drew. Iggy is a shortstop. Drew’s mediocre numbers simply won’t measure up.
Nation, we could just be witnessing the ascendence of a star and the answer to a gaping hole in the left side of Boston’s infield that has not been consistently filled since Nomah was sent packing.
Iglesias has said he loves competing for a job at the major league level every day. Right now at 23-years old he’s competing, winning and coming out on top in a big way.
I guess you’re just what I needed
- Just What I Needed, The Cars