There is little doubt in the Boston Red Sox organization regarding who their shortstop of the future will be.
The 22-year-old, Cuban-born Jose Iglesias has entered his third year in the Red Sox organization looking to continue his rise through the minor league system, and perhaps, score a big league job when the team breaks camp. He has shown significant promise at the plate to go with his stellar play in the field, and were he on many other MLB teams he would have been named the starter already.
However, because of the Red Sox’s vast resources, Iglesias has competition for the shortstop job. Last year’s super-utility man Mike Aviles has had a solid spring, and as the Kansas City shortstop finished fourth in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2008.
The competition between the two has been fierce, and though Iglesias has battled a groin injury recently, very even. The light-hitting Iglesias does not have Aviles’ ability at the plate, but the runs Iglesias’ glove saves certainly makes up the difference.
Manager Bobby Valentine yesterday said that “I think [Iglesias] can hit and hit on the major league level,” a ringing endorsement for a player whose biggest detractors constantly refer back to his struggles at the plate (.235 batting average, .554 OPS at Triple-A Pawtucket last year). Valentine’s word will be a huge factor in deciding where Iglesias starts the season, and he has given a clear indication of where he thinks that should be.
It seems in all likelihood that the competition for the starting shortstop job will come down to the final days of spring training. Here are 10 reasons why the Sox should just call it off now and give the job to Iglesias: