Detroit Tigers: Jose Iglesias – Quietly Making Noise

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Apr 11, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias (1) makes a throw to first to complete a double play as Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) slides into second in the sixth inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 11, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias (1) makes a throw to first to complete a double play as Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) slides into second in the sixth inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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As the Detroit Tigers make their way through the ups and downs of the regular season, Jose Iglesias is turning into a consistent everyday player. Could this be his biggest season yet?

Detroit Tigers
Mar 14, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias (1) bats during the second inning of a spring training baseball game against the New York Mets at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

Many are still predicting that the Detroit Tigers Nick Castellanos could have a break-out year in 2016. The third baseman certainly is breaking out at the plate; but, he is still struggling with the same demons he fought in 2015: defense and baserunning.

Jose Iglesias, on the other hand, is not struggling at all.

On offense, the 26-year-old has a .324 batting average, and he is sitting nicely behind J.D. Martinez (.372) Castellanos (.342), and Ian Kinsler (.340). He does not have the power that those three men have, but he is quietly making his mark with singles, a double, and six walks. The only player with more walks at this point is Miguel Cabrera. In 2015, Iglesias had a total of 25 walks in 120 games. It is safe to conclude that early-on, Iglesias has improved his plate discipline.

In 2015, Iglesias earned his first invitation to the All-Star Game. He ended the season batting .300 and a WAR of 1.5. Currently, his WAR is sitting at 0.5. For comparison, J.D. Martinez has a WAR of 0.2. The numbers will continue to grow as the games go on. Castellanos has -0.2.

When it comes to defense, Iglesias has always gotten the attention he deserves. In his 83 innings so far, he has not committed any errors at shortstop. In 2015 he was accused of not giving his all on the field, but that does not seem to be the case in 2016. He puts everything out there, diving and flying to catch anything that comes his way. He is an acrobat on the field making plays that other shortstops would never consider.

Detroit Tigers
Apr 17, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler (3) celebrates with shortstop Jose Iglesias (1) after hitting a home run against the Houston Astros during the fifth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

In fact, Iglesias and his double-play partner, Ian Kinsler, have been named the best double-play combination in baseball. No one is putting Nick Castellanos on a defensive best-of list.

During spring training, the Tigers announced that Kirk Gibson was coaching baserunning techniques. Even with the coaching from the veteran player, the team is still making boneheaded moves on the bases. Kinsler and Castellanos are the two most recent players who come to mind. But, Iglesias has not made any mistakes. The speedy player has stolen one base and has yet to be caught stealing.

Is Iglesias too old to be a break-out player? Was 2015 his break-out year? Does he have even more to bring to the game?

I have a feeling that Iglesias will be like fine wine (yes – that cliche), but he seems to only be getting better as he ages. After missing all of 2014 for shin fractures, his 2015 season was his opportunity to show he could play for an entire season. While he did miss some games in 2015, his injury was not related to the 2014 problems. He played 120 games in 2015 – which is a career high for him.He arrived at spring training looking fit and strong. He also arrived with a new attitude: to win for the team.

Next: Tigers' Early Milestones and Streaks in 2016

He may not hit the big home runs, but Iglesias is there making his plays, getting his singles, and rounding the bases. He is quietly making his noise and helping to get the wins.

Read more about the Detroit Tigers at Motor City Bengals

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