If you would’ve asked me a week ago, I would’ve said no. Two days ago, still no. But today, yes. In just a matter of hours, everything has changed, and it really has nothing to do with the performance of Iglesias last night in Triple-A Pawtucket. Instead, it has everything to do with what happened in Cleveland last night.
Red Sox rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks was hit in his wrist during the ninth inning and was forced to leave the game. Middlebrooks had X-rays taken after the game and it was then learned that his wrist was broken, according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
Source: Will Middlebrooks has a broken wrist. #RedSox will call up Danny Valencia forSaturday's game.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) August 11, 2012
Rob Bradford of WEEI wrote Saturday morning that Middlebrooks’ wrist is actually fractured and that the Red Sox have not ruled out that he’ll miss the remainder of the regular season. Bradford suggests four options that Boston could use at third during his absence: Nick Punto, Danny Valencia, Pedro Ciriaco and Mike Aviles.
Of those four options, moving Aviles to third base makes the most sense because it would then open the door for Iglesias. Bradford writes that if Boston were to move Aviles, Ciriaco would become the new shortstop, but that’s not the best course of action.
It’s time for the Jose Iglesias era to begin.
Iglesias has been playing shortstop for the Pawtucket Red Sox for nearly two full seasons and is the best shortstop prospect in the Boston organization. Iglesias is a phenomenal fielder who needs to improve at the plate—something he’s been working on this season in order to earn a big-league call-up.
Through 77 games this season, Iglesias is hitting .259/.305/.297 with nine extra-base hits, 38 runs, 23 RBI and 12 stolen bases. Like I said, he’s not going to be a great hitter, but that’s something that the Red Sox are going to have to live with.
Although Iglesias hasn’t hit well over the course of the season, or even throughout his professional career, he has been swinging the bat well lately. In his last 10 games, he’s hitting over .300 with an OPS of .737 and has scored six times.
Paw Sox manager Arnie Beyeler recently praised Iglesias, telling Mike Szostak of the Providence Journal:
“Those guys work hard on some things. He’s rally backing the ball up well. He’s hitting the ball hard, and that’s the key. He’s having good at-bats. All you can do in this game is hit the ball hard. I know he’s pretty tough on himself, but he’s hitting balls hard, and that’s all he can do. That’s all he can control,”
Iglesias has been called up already this season, but he never saw any time. He played in 10 games with the Red Sox last year, going 3-for-6 in limited time.
If not now, then when? When is Jose Iglesias really going to get a shot at the majors? The Red Sox are about as far away from playoff contention as you can be and without Middlebrooks in the middle of the lineup, things probably aren’t going to get better anytime soon—even with David Ortiz eventually returning to the lineup.
Aviles has had a surprisingly good season at shortstop this season, but it’s really been his offense that’s been keeping him in the lineup. Moving him to third base keeps him in the lineup and gives one of Boston’s top prospects a chance to start his major league career.
The Red Sox aren’t going to make the playoffs this season, and it’s time to start giving the younger guys a shot.
Iglesias has done his time in the minors. We know his game like the back of our hands. Now it’s time to see what he can do on an everyday basis in the big leagues.