I saw an article on BDC about a deeper look inside Iglesias’ hitting. Really, it was more some cute trivia than an actual look at how Iglesias is as a hitter. So I took it upon myself to dig deeper into the numbers of Jose Iglesias.
Is he really this good? Will this continue? How good should he really be? These are questions we all want answered. And that is where I come in.
The answer to the first two is a resounding “No.” Iglesias is this year’s Ciriaco when it comes to luck. And in fact, he is even luckier than Ciriaco, who at least built his ridiculous BABIP on a 30% line drive rate, which, while unsupportable long term, at least provides an ample amount of hits. Iglesias, on the other hand, is sporting an insane .486 BABIP with a line drive rate about half of what Ciriaco provided.
Iglesias hitting profile through Sunday lends him to being a ground ball hitter (57%). And while he has some speed to help out, he is hitting .488 when he hits the ball on the ground. He is not that fast. No one is that fast. Usain Bolt could not keep that up. Based on speed alone, light itself would struggle to maintain that BABIP.
Fenway certainly helps players with the flyball as well, as the occasional routine fly scrapes some green on the way down. But flyballs are generally the easiest balls to field, and Iglesias is hitting .263 when he hits a fly ball that stays in the park. Given his modest home run total, he is not likely to bang many off walls around the league, either. A .263 BABIP on flyballs is actually even luckier than the .488 BABIP on ground balls.
And those ground ball numbers, by the way, do not even count his 3 bunt singles. In 3 tries!! Is there any aspect of hitting a ball where Iglesias is showing even moderately human outcomes?
Line drives are where hitters build their averages, as an insane amount find the ground. Iglesias .833 BABIP on line drives is not as crazy as it looks at first glance, and unlike the other two numbers, is actually a fairly common output. Heck, it’s probably not even the highest on the team, let alone in a stratosphere that required ludicrous exaggerations to make a point.
In fact, given what Iglesias has done to date, his .438BA through Sunday should really be a .271BA supported by a .284BABIP. That BA does assume he remains the perfect bunter. The only way he could maintain his production would involve a serious change to his hitting. For example, if he stopped hitting ground balls 57% of the time, and instead hit line drives 57% of the time. And instead of hitting line drives 16% of the time, he hit flyballs 16% of the time. If he could pull that off, his BABIP with normal luck would be .491, or right about where he is now. And then his production would continue.
He would also be the line-drivingest hitter in MLB history. Ciriaco times two.
Of course, if he hits .271 (with a .324OBP) to me, that is more than enough to make him the starting shortstop, especially since he was never signed for his hitting. That is all bonus, baby. The only issue is that Drew has proven to be a better offensive player than Middlebrooks, but that is a discussion for another deep, in-depth analysis.
And anyway, THAT is a deeper look into Iglesias’ stats…