Welcome to 30 Tigers in 30 Days, a 30 day preview series in which we spotlight a different Tigers player each day and preview their upcoming season.
Jose Iglesias | Shortstop | #1
2014 salary: $1.65 million
2013 statistics: .303/.349/.386, 3 HR, 16 2B, 2 3B, 5 SB, 15 BB, 60 K (with Boston and Detroit)
Projected role: Starting shortstop
Jose Iglesias was the first sign of what eventually turned into a winter makeover of the Tigers roster, albeit a forced one; with Jhonny Peralta’s looming suspension, the Tigers pried him from Boston, essentially in exchange for Avi Garcia. We essentially saw what Iglesias is right now in his three months as shortstop: excellent defensively and a bat that is very much a work in progress.
Iglesias hit .303 last year but that was largely a result of an extremely high BABIP while with Boston. In Detroit it came down to .320 and the batting average came down in kind to .259. Something in the .260 range is a reasonable projection for 2014. His OBP won’t be much higher as he’s still impatient and rarely walks. His K/BB ratio is poor and his plate discipline isn’t great. He also brings little power to the table; all but 21 of his 106 hits in 2013 were singles.
The Tigers will happily put up with this because they know they’ll be getting outstanding defense at short. Iglesias might win a Gold Glove this year and quite a few more when all is said and done, and he’ll save more than enough runs with his glove that the complaints about his bat should be muted. For that reason, he’s quite valuable to the Detroit pitching staff. Don’t expect great strides at the plate – he’ll hit ninth – but Iglesias’s glove will make him a valuable contributor.