No. 3: Jose Iglesias, Detroit Tigers
Mar 10, 2015; Clearwater, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstopJose Iglesias
(1) dives and throws to first base during the first inning of a spring training baseball game at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Like both Ramirez and Danny Santana, Jose Iglesias hasn’t played enough big league games to make any sort of conclusion about his value. He has just 145 career games under his belt and, until Opening Day, Iglesias hadn’t played a regular season game since 2013.
While his offensive ability is still in question, there is no denying the fact that Iglesias can play defense. He has just five career errors at shortstop in 378 attempts, good for a .987 fielding percentage. Sporting a 3.59 career range factor at the position, Iglesias combines with second baseman Ian Kinsler this season to field one of the best defensive middle infields in all of baseball.
Acquired to replace Jhonny Peralta during his 50-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs in the Biogenesis scandal, Iglesias hit .303/.349/.386 in time split between Boston and Detroit back in 2013. He impressed so much, in fact, that Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski declined to make Peralta a qualifying offer in the offseason and penciled in Iglesias as the everyday shortstop.
Unfortunately for Iglesias, his 2014 season ended before it could begin. Stress fractures in both of his shins ended his season in the spring, so Iglesias has not played meaningful games in more than a year. He will likely get most of his at-bats at the bottom of the Tigers’ lineup in 2015, hitting in front of Rajai Davis and Kinsler, who man the top of the order.
If he continues to reach base at an average clip, Iglesias could really be a difference-maker for the Tigers, as his speed makes him a nightmare on the base paths.
Next: No. 2