Detroit Tigers: Jose Iglesias Not on Top 10 SS List, but Should Be
No one makes a play quite like Jose Iglesias. In his four seasons in the MLB, he has flown through the air, caught balls bare-handed, and repeatedly appeared on highlight reels. His acrobatics have earned him a spot in the hearts of Detroit Tigers fans and the eyes of the MLB.
On top of his outstanding defensive plays, in 2015 Iglesias showed off his offense, too. In his 120 games, he hit .300 in the ninth hole in the lineup. He made his first appearance at the All-Star game in 2015, too.
It is obvious that Iglesias is a complete player on offense and defense. With his ability, should Iglesias have been given a spot on the MLB Top 10 Shortstops Right Now list? Emphatically, yes.
Several of the shortstops on the list have less experience in the MLB that Iglesias has. Francisco Lindor (1), Carlos Correa (3), and Addison Russell (7) all were rookies in 2015. This list was developed by the infamous program called “The Shredder” and based the rankings on 2014 and 2015 play. None of these young men played in the major leagues in 2014. So, The Shredder could only use 2015 stats to place them on the list. Iglesias was also out for all of 2014 with his shin issues.
Veteran shortstops also appeared on the list, including Troy Tulowitzki (2), Brandon Crawford (4), and Jhonny Peralta (5). The other players on the list have similar time in the league, like Xander Bogaerts (6), Marcus Semien (8), Andrelton Simmons (9), and Didi Gregorius (10). Are all of these players better than Jose Iglesias?
Many of them are. But, not all of them.
Iglesias has competition with the rookies. Correa and Lindor finished first and second in the 2015 Rookie of the Year vote. Correa batted .279, hit 22 home runs, and 68 RBIs. Lindor hit .313 with 12 home runs and 51 RBIs. They both only played in 99 games. Russell hit .242, 13 home runs, and 54 RBIs in 142 games. Iglesias batted .300, hit 2 home runs, and 23 RBIs in 120 games. His spot in the lineup keeps his RBIs low.
The veteran players on the list have repeatedly proven their effectiveness in their positions. Tulowitzki had an All-Star season batting .280 in 2015; he hit 17 home runs and 70 RBIs. Crawford hit .256 with 24 home runs. He earned a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, and All-Star invitation. They both belong on the list.
Detroit Tigers fans are familiar with Peralta and in St. Louis he continues to perform consistently. He had another All-Star season in 2015, batting .275 and hitting 17 RBIs and 17 home runs. There is no doubt that Peralta is a force at the plate, regularly hitting with power. He makes plays at shortstop, but not with the style of Iglesias. Peralta has 13 seasons under his belt and he makes a very serious $15 million annually. Iglesias was the replacement for Peralta when he was suspended for PEDs in 2013. The Tigers decided to keep Iglesias instead of Peralta. Does Peralta deserve a spot on the list? As a hitter, yes, but not for his mobility and performance on defense.
The Shredder appears to take plate performance into consideration slightly more than it does defense. Shortstops are not known for being power hitters, which is why there are so many of them like Peralta, Correa, and Lindor on the Top 10 list. Shortstops are known for their speed and glovework on defense, which is why Iglesias is not on the list – The Shredder cannot analyze this with an algorithm, which is a big miss when analyzing shortstops.
Iglesias is one of the most exciting shortstops in the MLB. Even Dave Schoenfeld with ESPN believes this. With his double-play partner Ian Kinsler, Iglesias prevents opposing hits from being recorded and runs from being scored. Schoenfeld thinks that the Iglesias-Kinsler combination is the best in the league. Their chemistry in the middle infield is easy to see. It may not be quite as good as the career-long chemistry of Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell, but in two years, they have proven to be a more-than-capable pair. Iglesias should be given more recognition than The Shredder allows.
Iglesias is not the best shortstop in the league, but he is one of the top 10. He is a better defensive shortstop than Russell, Gregorius, and Peralta.
Next: Detroit Tigers: Ian Kinsler Deserves More Respect
The Shredder continues to prove that there is more to baseball than statistics.