Iglesias may be looking over his shoulder with a “Bogey” on his tail


Jose Iglesias may replace the current Red Sox SS [FILL IN NAME HERE], but it looks more and more like he will quickly be replaced by the new Future Franchise Shortstop, 20 year-old phenom Xander Bogaerts, perhaps by 2014. If this were a WW II video game, Jose would say:  “I’ve got a bogey on my tail!”  Well, Jose, there is someone coming up behind you that might steal y0ur job, so take the sage advice of Satchel Paige: “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”

If you, dear citizen of Red Sox Nation, are collecting Red Sox Rookie cards for investment, better pass on Iglesias and save your money to buy Xander Bogaerts’ cards.

Lasy year Iglesias made #5 on top 10 list of MLB.com’s Top 10 shortstop prospect list.

This year Sox’ single-A shortstop, Xander Bogaerts, made the top 10 of MLB.com’s Top 10 shortstop prospect list, but  Jose Iglesias did not. This was what MLB.co said about the young shooting star:

"Any thoughts of Bogaerts coming along slowly were thrown out the window when he played his way to the South Atlantic League in June and seemed more than comfortable there as a teenager. He has some serious pop, with the ability to hit to all fields. A very good pure hitter, he’ll improve even more when he learns the strike zone better, something that’s sure to happen as he progresses, because he’s already shown an ability to adjust at the plate."

If you are Jose Iglesias, you may read that and say: “That’s nice…” but, if you read how Ben Crockett, Boston’s director of player development, is comparing you to the kid, you may start to worry:

“[With Iglesias], the kind of tool package that made everybody think he was going to hit beforehand hasn’t changed. He still has good bat speed, he still has a really compact swing, he still has the ability to hit line drives in the gap and play with a lot of energy — I think all of those things are still there.

"I think, certainly, we didn’t see it with the consistency we wanted to last year.”"

Now, you’re Jose Iglesias and you are thinking:  “Uh…oh…”

“With Xander, he’s obviously an advanced bat, he’s got excellent raw power…[He’s] someone that really has very good [hitting] ability and very good athleticism. He made some pretty impressive improvements defensively, coming from being in the Dominican Summer League last year and being the starting shortstop on a full-season club by the midway this year.”

Xander Bogaerts turned 20 in October and spent the entire season in the lowest level of the Sox farm system, but his batting stats are far more appealing than Iglesias.

In  just 72 games last season with Greenville (A), Bogaerts batted .260, with 16 homers, 45 RBI, 14 doubles, 38 Runs and an OPS of .834.The struggle of Boston’s top prospect last year, Jose Iglesias, and the success of Bogaerts makes “shortstop of the future” a contested title in 2012.

If you were to give him 144 games of 162 in MLB, he would project to: 32 HRs, 90 RBIs, and 76 Rs.

To be fair, Iglesias played two levels up at AAA Pawtucket last year and made it to Fenway late in the season and his AAA stats included: .235, 1 HR, 31 RBIs, 35 Rs, OPS .554, but the downside is that he played in 101 games.

Jose can hope that Xander may not develop his defensive skills enough to stick at SS and, like so many SS prospects be forced to move to 3b [like Mets’ Wilmer Flores], or even OF [like the A’s Grant Green].

Iglesias might also find some comfort in the attrition rate that increases as a prospect moves up the levels from Low-A to A to AA to AAA; still, the vast difference in their offensive stats is striking.  The On Base Percentage gap is also  red flag: Iglesias .285, Bogaerts .324.

Scouts will tell you that comparing Low-A to AAA and MLB is even less accurate, than comparing apples to oranges, but they also look at stats and talk in terms of “projectable” and rate prospects in terms of their “ceiling.”  One player’s ceiling may be “utility infielder,” or “starting MLB SS,” while another’s might be “potential All-Star” and with very rare cases, like Joe Mauer, they may even say “potential Hall of Famer.”

"Jim Callis @jimcallisBA Reply RE: Bogaerts “Still a ways from it, but I’ll throw out .300/.360/.550. Ceiling, not certainty.”"

A snapshot summary from today suggests that Iglesias has a “Gold Glove” ceiling, but may not be able to stick as a starting MLB SS, due to his inability to get on base, hit, or steal.  On the flip side is Bogaerts, who has work to do on his footwork and range, but who is already more advanced as a hitter.

When Iglesias arrived with the Red Sox and hit .333 in 6 ABs, it looked like he was the Boston Shortstop of The Future.  But, as Spring training begins and Iglesias is in the #3 slot behind Aviles and Punto, and Bogaerts is getting a lot of screen time from Prospect prospectors, like MLB.com, the perspective is shifting and, while it is not hard to imagine that Iglesias might take over the starting SS job in 2013, it is even easier to project his reign to be a short one with Bogaerts’ offense and matured defense gaining sway over Jose in 2014.


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