Detroit Tigers and the Amazing Jose Iglesias


Jose Iglesias is having a tremendous season for the Detroit Tigers at the plate and in the field, setting himself to be a cornerstone of the team for the next several years.

Is it time to start talking about Jose Iglesias?

I mean, the dude is hitting .322, which is good for fifth in the American league. Formerly a hitter with a long stroke who tried to be a power slugger, he has shortened his swing up and is only striking out at a rate of 9.4%. For comparison, Miguel Cabrera, probably the best hitter of our generation, is striking out 16% of the time. For sure he isn’t a power hitter that Miggy is (duh!) but the Detroit Tigers aren’t asking him to hit home runs…just be an annoyance at the bottom of the order and try to get on base for the big boys behind him.

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Currently batting 9th in the lineup, if the average stays above .300 and the walks / strikeout rate keeps trending upward the guy seems to be a perfect number 2 hitter once Ian Kinsler moves on. This from a guy who’s only major question mark upon making it to the bigs was whether or not he can hit.

Is it time to start talking about his defense? It is impeccable. It is like sunsets over an ocean or the Northern Lights over Houghton or Kate Upton running (or Channing Tatum shirtless depending on your viewpoint) – just fantastic to watch. He makes routing plays seem boring and extraordinary plays seem routine. He has the amazing ability to make everything look effortless and fun.

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And the stats backup what we are seeing – he is tops among all major league shortstops in UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating), which is a one of the most widely used metrics for the sabermetrics people to judge the defensive ability of a player. With a UZR of 7.3 (which means he has saved 7.3 run more than the average MLB shortstop) he is trending towards Gold Glove territory.

Is he cocky? Sure. Normally I hate that in an athlete..but somehow with him, it just seems to fit. From the way he warms up, to the sidearm flicks to first base, to the over-the-shoulder catches, he plays with a passion and energy that anyone can appreciate.  nd it is something that I think is needed on the Tigers. It brings an energy to the dugout in a sport where the daily grind can become overwhelming at times.

Is time to start think that he might be a cornerstone of the future? Sure, we have Miggy and V-Mart, but those dudes are old (well, as a 43 year old man, maybe I should clarify and say those dudes are old in baseball years. Kind of like dog years but without the drool.) He might not be the middle of the order bat to replace Miggy someday, or a David Price-type starting picture, but with his defense and ability to get on base he sure is a nice addition to a team.  And at only 25 years old there is still room to get better.

So I would say yes, it is time to start talking about him. Hopefully we are talking about him for a long time to come.

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