Detroit Tigers: Jose Iglesias shows that he can hit and field
The Detroit Tigers shortstop, Jose Iglesias, has never really been known for his bat.
But, after reaching a batting average low of .195, the acrobatic Detroit Tigers shortstop has been showing off his batting skills.
Iglesias is known for his prowess turning difficult double plays. His transfers happen in the blink of an eye and the balls he flips seem to magically appear in Ian Kinsler‘s glove.
What he is also known for is batting last in the Tigers’ order and for being able to put bad pitches into play. However, last season, that ability to hit bad pitches seemed to slow. After getting to his first All-Star Game in 2015 and finishing that season with batting stats of .300/.347/.370 with an OPS of .717, Iggy’s 2016 stats were not impressive.
In 2016, Iglesias’s numbers were .255/.306/.336 with a .643 OPS. In 2015, he stole 11 bases and in 2016, he only stole 7. He did have only 50 strikeouts, which was the least amount of any of the daily starters. But, he just wasn’t reliable.
It looks like the hitting problems from 2016 were going to follow him into 2017. He didn’t get a hit in the first three games, but he did finish April with .233/.258/.383 with an OPS of .641. The batting highlight for Iglesias came in the form of a monstrous home run that he hit against Boston on April 8. The ball traveled 433 feet to deep left field, according to Statcast. That distance does not even land Iglesias on the top 50 home run distances list, but for Iglesias, it was a remarkable hit for power.
Then, May arrived and Iggy stopped hitting the ball. From May 1 until May 23, Iglesias’s batting statistics were horrible. He started in 16 games and finished with .159/.185/.222 and an OPS of .407. It seemed like he couldn’t even buy a hit.
Fortunately, May took a turn for the better on the 24th of the month. He hit his second home run of the season; this time, it was against the Houston Astros. That same day, he went three-for-three with a double and the home run. Yes, he was a triple away from the cycle. Jose. Iglesias.
While this might have seemed like an anomaly, he has been putting the ball into play on a regular basis. From May 24 until June 2, Iglesias has batting stats that are just starting to get noticed, as they should. In the nine games he has played between those dates, his current stats are .412/.444/.618 with an OPS of 1.062.
He looks like a completely different player at the plate right now.
In a lineup that includes Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez, it is easy to overlook like Jose Iglesias (unless he happens to be hanging around with Cabrera). He still isn’t hitting for power, but he is getting on base. He’s scored 9 runs in those 9 games, which is rather remarkable, especially since he only scored 8 runs in the 17 games earlier in May.
Something is going on with the 27-year-old shortstop and it has been fun to watch. Even though he regularly makes highlight-reel plays, he has been overshadowed by the younger shortstops who are not only good in the field but can hit, too. His fielding stats put him in a tie for 16th best MLB shortstop with Jorge Polanco from the Minnesota Twins.
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His batting stats are starting to show improvement when compared to other AL shortstops. Iglesias and Xander Bogaerts are tied with the third most doubles (13). He is in a big tie for third place with triples, as he and many other shortstops only have one. He is tenth in the AL with total hits, but his 41 hits are a long way off from the 67 that belong to Elvis Andrus. Iggy has the sixth most runs scored with 26, but the two hot shot shortstops Francisco Lindor and Carlos Correa both have 37. Iglesias and Marcus Semien have both stolen four bases; the leader on this list is Elvis Andrus with 13 (Iglesias and Semien are tied for sixth).
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It is clear that Iglesias has defensive prowess, but he is also showing that his bat is good. Hopefully, this little streak is more than just a streak. There is no way he will continue to bat at the same clip, but hopefully, he can get his average closer to his career average of .270.