When things are going great, people seem to forget about the troubles of yesterday. Look no further than the Boston Red Sox and their first three games—and more specifically, their situation at shortstop.
Stephen Drew was signed during the off-season to be the starter at short, but after suffering a concussion in spring training, the eight-year veteran was forced onto the disabled list. The injury also forced the Red Sox to come up with a “plan B”.
Utility infielder Pedro Ciriaco outplayed rookie Jose Iglesias this spring. He batted .351 and stole three bases during Grapefruit League action, but he, too, found himself battling injuries toward the end of camp. Even though Ciriaco is now healthy, the Red Sox, for some reason, felt more comfortable with Iglesias as their starting shortstop. I didn’t agree with it then, and I still don’t—despite Iglesias’ early success.
Yes indeed, Iglesias leads MLB in hits right now with seven. He’s batting .583 through the first three games of the season. Wow. No one could have predicted that. But really, let’s not get too excited here.
Iglesias’ seven hits, if lined up one after another, collectively wouldn’t even reach the green monster from home plate at Fenway Park. I admire the fact that Iglesias is absolutely busting it down the line, as he beat out four infield singles already, but let’s be honest with ourselves. He isn’t hitting the ball well at all. He’s not making good contact. He’s not hitting the ball hard. I’ll just come right out and say it. He’s getting lucky.
Is anyone at all confident when he steps to the plate? I am. I’m confident that he’ll hit a dribbler about 15 feet, and I pray it doesn’t go right back to the pitcher resulting in a double play—which is exactly what happened last night. Iglesias is not a threat at the plate. The way he’s swinging the bat right now, he’s lucky not to be batting .118 like he did in 2012.
I’m not rooting against the guy. I’m really not. I’m just not buying into the “Iglesias Fever” that seems to infecting all of Boston. When Stephen Drew returns to the lineup, he will be a legitimate threat at the plate. He’s a guy that, when healthy, can hit 15 home runs and knock in 60 runs from the bottom of the order. Iglesias, contrary to his hot start, will never be that guy.
(JM Catellier is the author of the book Fixing Baseball, a guide to restructuring the Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter: @FixingBaseball and Facebook, and check out his site: www.fixingbaseball.com)