The Boston Red Sox have very few questions about their everyday lineup heading into spring training, with most positions being held down by well-established players. But, position battles are one of the things that make spring training interesting, and the Red Sox could see a battle unfold for the starting shortstop job.
2010 starter Marco Scutaro and the perpetually injured Jed Lowrie are likely to see time at short this year -- with Scutaro as the starter and Lowrie in a super-utility role. But, it appears both players are just keeping the seat warm for Cuban prospect Jose Iglesias.Iglesias, just 21 years old, played for double-A Portland last season -- appearing in only 57 games due to a broken finger -- and finished the year playing in the Arizona Fall League. He had a .285/.315/.357 line for the Sea Dogs and a .350/.458/.500 showing in 48 plate appearances in Arizona.
There's no question Iglesias is a free swinger (3.4 walk percentage, 22.2 strikeout percentage in Portland), and his ability to hit for power (no homeruns at any level last season) is in question, but his defense alone should warrant an appearance with the Red Sox this season.
His exceptional range and quick hands drew comparisons to Omar Vizquel -- arguably the greatest defensive shortstop who ever played.
Scutaro has one year guaranteed left on his deal and Lowrie -- despite slugging .526 for the Sox down the stretch last year -- is still a question mark having never recorded more than 300 PAs ever in the Majors. Iglesias will likely start the year with Pawtucket, but it's time for the Boston fans to see what they have in the youngster and determine if he really is the shortstop of the future.