Since they traded Nomar Garciaparra at the 2004 trading deadline, the Boston Red Sox have had a revolving door at shortstop.  Marco Scutaro was the most recent attempt to fill the position, but the Red Sox have also tried Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria and Julio Lugo, among others.

In an attempt to finally stop the constant turnover, the Red Sox signed Cuban defector Jose Iglesias in 2009 to a four-year, $8.25 million contract.  Iglesias is currently ranked by Baseball America as the team’s second-best prospect for 2011, so you wonder how much longer the Red Sox will wait before giving him an opportunity.

Iglesias is known for his glove, which many people consider Major League ready at 20 years old (he’ll turn 21 in January).  His bat, however, brings some question marks. 

In his first professional season (spending time for a short season team, though mostly at Double-A), Iglesias posted the following line (he did miss a few months due to a broken finger): 261 AB, .295 BA (77 H), 0 HR, 20 RBI, 37 R, 7 SB, .333 OBP, .379 SLG, .377 BABIP.

At first sight the numbers bring back memories of Rey Ordonez, but Iglesias is young so he can definitely improve.  Right now the average is just not believable, and when you couple the strikeouts (21.8 percent) with his lack of power, there is a lot of concern.

In general he needs to learn to work the strike zone considerably better, having walked just 5.4 percent of the time.  However, before we get too concerned about the average, let’s take a look at what Baseball America recently said about him:

“With good bat speed and hand-eye coordination to go with a line-drive stroke, Iglesias should hit for average with some gap power once he adds some strength. He attacks pitches early in the count, an aggressive approach that won’t lead to many walks. He’s an average runner.”

While that will help ease the concerns about his inflated average in 2010, it seems like there isn’t much hope in him being able to hit home runs or steal many bases.  That on its own is going to limit his potential fantasy value, both in the short and long term.

No matter where Iglesias hits in the Red Sox lineup, he should bring some potential to score runs, but it’s hard to imagine him hitting anywhere but near the bottom.  That certainly is going to limit his potential contributions there.

So, we have a slick fielding shortstop with little power and speed who, we hope, has the potential to hit for a good average.  Again, visions of Rey Ordonez are dancing in my head.

Ordonez never hit for a good average (career .246 hitter), so Iglesias will likely outperform him there, but that’s about his only redeeming upside right now.

Chances are he opens the 2011 season in the minor leagues, so there is little reason to focus on him in your draft.  As far as long term, it seems like he’s not going to bring enough to the table to make him a star option, even at a shallow position.  Still, he’s worth watching closely in order to see if he can develop into a better hitting option.

What are your thoughts on Iglesias?  Do you see him having fantasy value?  Why or why not?

Make sure to check out our other Prospect Reports as we wrap up 2010 and head towards 2011:


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