Jose Iglesias Won’t Miss

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

From a simple results standpoint, Jose Iglesias is off to a very nice start. In 49 plate appearances, Iglesias has a .326/.408/.349 line with a 128 wRC+. His .350 BABIP is a little above his career norm and his ISO is well below his career norm, so this isn’t the kind of line you’re going to look at and totally dismiss as small sample noise.

I don’t think Iglesias will continue to hit like one of the best two dozen hitters in the league, but the line does come with a very interesting indicator. Iglesias has walked 12.2% of the time and struck out just 6.1% of the time, both of which would be career bests. Now 50 PA are just 50 PA and I don’t think Iglesias has become Stan Musial, but this is a promising trend.

Screenshot 2016-04-21 at 8.21.24 AM

Iglesias’ swing lends itself to higher BABIP than average because he doesn’t hit a lot of fly balls and has the ability to beat out infield hits. I wouldn’t bet on .350 for his career, but .320 to .330 seems plausible. If he can do that while also walking at or above league average and almost never striking out, he would be a great player.

Let’s say he can walk 10%, strike out 7% of the time, and post a .330 BABIP. Say he hits 4 HR and 20 doubles. That’s a .340 wOBA, give or take. Even if he’s just a slightly above average defender at shortstop, that’s a 4-5 WAR player. If he’s actually does become a great defender, that’s a borderline MVP.

I don’t want to get too excited about a couple dozen PA, but the underlying plate discipline data tells a consistent story:

Screenshot 2016-04-21 at 8.13.53 AM

Iglesias was already a great contact guy in 2015 and so far he’s improved his contact rate (contact/swings) by 5.5%. He’s done this by being more selective, both in and out of the zone. Iglesias has terrific bat-to-ball ability and so far he seems to be getting better at knowing which pitches to avoid.

He’s swung and missed just three times this year. Five if you count foul tips:

Jose Iglesias (1)

It’s still early, but this is definitely something to watch. A player with this kind of strikeout zone command, contact ability, and batted ball profile can be very valuable even without much power. And while it’s only been 49 PA and 193 pitches this year, it continues something we saw from him in 2015.

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3 responses

  1. Iglesias seemed to tire down the stretch last year (a year of doctor mandated sitting will do that to a guys legs, he went form the couch to baseball in spring, and by mid-season was clearly starting to drag.

    So, his dip last year will probably not be repeated.
    Iglesias is a hell of a contact hitter. People have not given him near enough credit for that. He is so good that he will develop power because he will get stronger and better able to take advantage of pitches that he can poke. He’ll hit a handful out this year, next year a few more. He’ll never be a 20 hr guy, but a 10-15 guy, yeah.

    How do I know. Watch him, he almost never looks baffled. Never looks uncomfortable at the plate. And he’s always really dialed in. Also, he has sick, SICK fast reflexes and ridiculous hand eye coordination.

    He is going to hit over .300 all year, probably right about where he is. The other thing about him is that he has streaks, but by and large he is pretty darn consistent.

    Also, his D this year is going to get downright insane. He tired last year. Book it. He and Kinsler are going to kill it. Also, he will be why Kinsler hangs around until 38 or so. Iggy will get better Kins will hang with him, as Kinsler declines Iggy will improve.
    Synergy.

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