Jose Iglesias' brilliance in the field was outweighed by his awfulness at the plate, making it clear that asking him to take over in 2013 would be an act of impatience, and more of the same aggressive approach to his progression that has hurt him since he came to America.
It's important to remember that Jose Iglesias was only 22 last year. It's important to remember that he was pushed incredibly aggressively into Triple-A at 21 years of age after a bad season in Portland at 20, because otherwise you may be starting to lose what hope you have left for the shortstop.
He's dazzling with the glove, of that there's no question. To have fun with admittedly unreliable and confirmation bias filled numbers, in just 193 innings this year both UZR and DRS say Iglesias saved seven runs. If that was actually accurate and he played a full season of baseball, he'd be a five win player on defense alone!
But that's not really how that works. It's not likely to be, at least. And for anyone who does not break the mold in that way, there needs to be some level of performance with the bat. Not even average performance with the bat, or average for a shortstop, just some.
For Jose Iglesias, as a 22-year-old making his MLB debut (ignoring those six plate appearances in '11) without ever having shown he had really figured out Triple-A at all, some was too much to ask. Iglesias hit one home run that nobody really saw coming, and that was about the extent of his offensive contributions. In 77 plate appearances he managed just eight hits, struck out 16 times, and drew four walks from pitchers who, presumably, were not quite aware of who he was. "Overmatched" doesn't begin to describe what Jose Iglesias was this year. He was a child amongst men.
But, again, it's not over yet. Iglesias has one option year left. One year left to get to the point where he can cut it in the major leagues before it's trial by fire be it in Boston or elsewhere. For some reason, though, it seems there's a significant contingent of people who are interested in cutting that year out altogether and putting Iglesias in the starting lineup come April.
To those folks I can only ask what season you just watched? What I just saw out of Jose Iglesias was a player who needed at least one more year of seasoning. A player who has been pushed too hard for three straight years and has never been able to make good on it. He did show some improvement over his 2011 numbers in Triple-A, but only enough to boost his OPS just over the .600 mark.
Give him one more year to make good. One year where he's finally at the level someone his age should be in. One lone year where he's not being thrown into the fire and then made to look a complete fool when he can't miraculously play like someone with years more experience. Jose Iglesias has been pushed too hard ever since he joined the Red Sox, likely to his detriment. Let's not make the same mistake again after a 2012 season which showed just how unready he is to make the jump.