Jose Iglesias woke up this morning hitting .431 with a 1.038 OPS. Among players with at least 50 plate appearances this season, Iglesias has the highest batting average in the majors. Miguel Cabrera is second at .370.
Iglesias had four extra-base hits in 119 at-bats Triple A. He has seven in 58 ABs in the majors. The people in Pawtucket must be scratching their heads.
Iglesias is 25 of 58. On balls that he puts in play, Iglesias is hitting .511. The average batting average on balls in play is around .300.
(As an example, Dustin Pedroia has a career batting average on balls in play of .315. Over a full season, it has ranged from .297 to .333 in his career.)
In other words, Iglesias has been pretty fortunate so far unless you believe he has developed a magical ability to will the ball to open spots on the field.
There is something to be said for luck. Baseball is full of players who had incredible weeks and months. The Sox should ride Iglesias as long as this goes.
But there is a fall coming, that is obvious. So the idea that the Red Sox should change the long-term makeup of their team based on 58 at-bats doesn’t make much sense.
The Sox have the second-best record in the American League with Stephen Drew playing shortstop and sitting him down would be foolish and based more on emotion than reason. The Sox will need Drew over the course of the season and throwing him on the bench now is not conducive to his being productive over the course of the season.
Drew, by the way, has a .749 OPS. That is fourth among AL shortstop with at least 175 plate appearances. Drew also has a 4.4 UZR at shortstop. That is fourth in the majors. UZR is far more indicative over a full season, but that is what we have to go on at the moment.
You may not care to believe this, but Drew is an above-average shortstop offensively and defensively. That is a statistical fact.
The Red Sox also can’t just give up on Will Middlebrooks. He has had a poor season to date, but was dealing with injuries. This was a productive player last season and he deserves the chance to return to that level. Again, he is somebody the Red Sox will need over the course of the season.
Once Middlebrooks comes back, Iglesias should stay on the team and play more than average backup. He could play shortstop against some lefthanders, third base once a week maybe and maybe even get a game or two at second base over the course of the season. Even the ever-scrappy Pedroia would benefit from a day off now and then.
Having too many good players is never a problem. These things always sort themselves out.
But for now, enjoy the Iggy Show. Imagine, a player who gets hits half the time he puts the ball in play.