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Revisiting the Jose Iglesias Illusion


Some seventeen days ago, I wrote about Jose Iglesias‘ fortunate season to date with the bat, and how, all things considered, it would be unlikely for him to sustain that very success with the bat. Naturally, Iglesias has since tallied an extra ten games to his hit streak, which reached eighteen games before ending last night against the Rays.

June 9, 2013; Boston, MA USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Jose Iglesias (10) bats during the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Undoubtedly, Iglesias’ offensive numbers (he is currently hitting .426 and has an OPS over 1.000) have been beyond impressive thus far. Additionally, he has raised his career batting average from .135 to .298 in a matter of just 29 games. Yet, when one observes everything in a vacuum, the way Iglesias has gone about his “torrid” stretch is one that remains unlikely to be sustained.

Two days ago, ESPN’s David Schoenfield wrote a piece regarding the same the thing I’m attempting to examine now, as he wanted to see how  Iglesias went about reaching that 18 game milestone. He manually reviewed each of Iglesias’ 26 hits during his hit streak, with a description classifying each base hit. You can observe Schoenfield’s results for yourself by clicking the link above, but he noticed a disproportionate amount of infield singles, bloops, and bleeders that comprised the majority of Iglesias’ hits.

It’s hard enough to survive in the Major Leagues and a player’s game that is based on bloops and texas-leaguers is basically a short-lived dream. Furthermore, while the ability to get infield singles may be a more repeatable skill, Iglesias has never been a fast enough runner to make a living off beating out ground balls (think Ichiro, Juan Pierre speed). While he will always be a major leaguer because of his glove and positional versatility, but I still have my qualms that Iglesias can keep this magic act up with the bat.

Again, this is not to take away from Iglesias’ actual on-field performance. The guy is hitting .426 for crying out loud and the Sox almost certainly would not be in the position they currently are in without both his offensive and defensive contributions. But dropping balls into the “Bermuda Triangles” behind first base and hitting weak ground balls only works so long.