With the season drawing to a close, we are going to provide year-end grades to each Detroit Tigers player who donned the Olde English D in 2018.
The Detroit Tigers have nearly completed the first year of what looks to be a multi-year rebuilding process. While the team was hard to watch at times, there is still plenty to evaluate from this season as we look ahead to the next few years.
As with any team, there were a lot of excellent performances, surprise performances, and of course disappointing performances. Here at Motor City Bengals, we are going to be evaluating each player who suited up for the Detroit Tigers this season. We will analyze how they performed, what their future holds in the Motor City, and we will provide them a grade.
Note: the grade will be relative to what was expected of them. So a player who performed well above expectations may earn a B or an A, even if their actual season numbers are not that elite. If you disagree, feel free to drop us a comment. We would love to have discussions about these!
First up is Detroit’s starting shortstop, who had one of the better seasons of his career.
Iglesias is on the 60-day DL, so we can evaluate his season even though the Tigers are still playing. Iggy, who was a trade candidate throughout the season, posted one of the best offensive and defensive seasons of his career.
The 28-year-old played in 125 games, slashing .269/.310/.389 with five home runs, 43 runs scored, and a career-high 15 stolen bases. He posted a 2.6 fWAR and a 90 wRC+.
His plate discipline numbers remained roughly the same, with a 4.1% walk rate and a 10.1% strikeout rate. The difference was a nice .291 BABIP, his highest since 2015. He also lowered his soft contact rate to 21.0%, the lowest mark of his career.
Iggy’s defense remained elite, as he posted a UZR/150 over 10 for the third consecutive season. There’s no question he is one of baseball’s best defensive shortstops, and his offensive performance made him an all-around valuable player this season.
Of course, it’s entirely possible Iggy’s Tigers career has come to an end. He is a free agent after this season, which is why it was a bit surprising that he was not dealt before the trade deadline.
There remains a chance the Tigers will bring Iglesias back, as they don’t have a readily available big league replacement yet. Iggy is unlikely to find a starting gig on the open market, and therefore it might make sense for the Tigers to give Iggy the starting SS job for another season while prospects like Sergio Alcantara and Willi Castro continue to marinate in the minor leagues.
Iglesias had his best all-around season in a Tigers uniform in 2018. Injuries kept him off the field more than I’m sure he would have liked, but the defensive wizard was a solid presence for the Tigers. He is still a slightly below average big league hitter, but he makes up for that with his glove. His absence proves how important having a shortstop who can play the field and at least hold their own at the plate is. Detroit will miss him if he is not brought back next season.