- Full name José Antonio Iglesias
- Born 01/05/1990 in Havana, Cuba
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 195 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 05/08/2011
Organization Prospect Rankings
A Cuban defector, Iglesias signed in 2009 for an $8.25 million major league contract that included a Red Sox-record $6.25 million bonus. He made his major league debut in 2011 but spent the bulk of 2012 in Triple-A. Iglesias may be the best defensive shortstop prospect in the game. Rated as the International League's top defensive shortstop for two years running, he has exceptionally quick hands and feet. His arm is strong and former manager Bobby Valentine said Iglesias has more range than Rey Ordonez, the Gold Glover he had with the Mets. The problem is that Iglesias has hit .251/.302/.287 in Triple-A and looked helpless at the plate with Boston. While he has bat speed and makes contact, he draws few walks and offers no power. With average speed and good instincts, he can steal 10-15 bases a season. After trading Mike Aviles to the Blue Jays in order to get new manager John Farrell, the Red Sox will give Iglesias the opportunity to win the shortstop job in spring training. His defense can make him a valuable regular, even if his bat relegates him to the bottom of the lineup.
Iglesias began playing in Cuba's top league as a 17-year-old and defected a year later at the 2008 World Junior Championships in Edmonton. He signed with the Red Sox in September 2009, getting a four-year, $8.25 million big league contract that included a franchise-record $6.25 million bonus. Boston initially hoped that he'd be ready to take over at shortstop in 2012, but that won't transpire after he had a rough year with the bat in Triple-A last season. Iglesias is more than capable defensively. He has incredibly quick hands and feet, along with a strong arm, keen instincts and uncanny body control. Managers rated him the best defensive shortstop in the International League last year, and he led the circuit in both fielding percentage (.973) and total chances (441). He's a Gold Glove waiting to happen, though he'll have to show more offensively before getting regular playing time in the majors. Iglesias is too aggressive at the plate yet has a feel for putting the bat on the ball, a combination that yields a lot of weak contact. He has some bat speed but lacks strength and thus power. The Red Sox could live with his glove if he were an adequate hitter who could bat .250-.260 with some modest pop, but scouts from organizations question whether he'll be able to even do that. He's an average runner who can steal a few bases with his instincts. When Iglesias got a brief callup last May, he was 21 and became the youngest Boston position player since Rich Gedman in 1980. He came back up in September when rosters expanded, but Iglesias will have to show he can hold his own against Triple-A pitching before he returns to the majors.
Iglesias was skilled enough to not only crack the Serie Nacional, Cuba's top league, as a 17-year old, but also to bat .322. He also played on Cuban national teams with Blue Jays shortstop prospect Adeiny Hechavarria, with Iglesias shifting over to second base. Iglesias defected along with Royals lefthander Noel Arguelles while at the World Junior Championships in Edmonton in July 2008, then established residency in the Dominican Republic. In September 2009, Iglesias signed a four-year, $8.25 million major league contract with the Red Sox that included a franchise-record $6.25 million bonus. His first exposure to pro ball came in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .275/.324/.420 despite his long layoff and left scouts raving about his defensive ability. Boston sent him to Double-A Portland for his pro debut last April, and Iglesias was batting .306 as the youngest regular in the Eastern League before an errant pitch broke his right middle finger in late May. He missed two months and didn't swing the bat quite as well when he returned to Portland and then the AFL, but the Red Sox were pleased with the overall results from his first pro season. Iglesias is an exceptional defender who could challenge for a Gold Glove in the big leagues right now. He plays low to the ground, using his quick feet, lightning-fast hands and strong arm to make all the plays. His instincts and body control also stand out, and he made just seven errors in 57 games at short last season. He's fearless in the field, almost to the point of overconfidence, but he makes more web gems than mistakes. When he had to play some third base in the AFL, he handled hot smashes so easily he looked like he had been at the hot corner for years. Iglesias will provide some offense as well. With good bat speed and hand-eye coordination to go with a line-drive stroke, Iglesias should hit for average. He may not be a double-digit home run threat, but he can sting some balls and should have some gap power once he adds more strength. He's aggressive at the plate, attacking pitches early in the counts and sometimes getting overly concerned with trying to crush balls, an approach that won't lead to many walks. If he develops some patience, it's possible that he could fit in the No. 2 slot in a big league batting order. More quick than fast, he's an average runner out of the batter's box and slightly better on the bases. Iglesias also has quickly adapted to life in the U.S. He quickly picked up English and communicates well with teammates. After going through six shortstops in seven seasons since trading Nomar Garciaparra, the Red Sox believe Iglesias can bring some stability to the position. When they signed Marco Scutaro as a free agent, they gave him a two-year contract with a mutual option for 2012, forecasting that Iglesias would be ready by then. He's developing according to plan and will spend 2011 at Triple-A Pawtucket. He might be ready by midseason.
Iglesias broke into Cuba's top league as a 17-year-old and defected at the World Junior Championship in July 2008. He signed a four-year, $8.25 million big league contract last September that included a club-record $6.25 million bonus. He wowed observers with his defense and batted .275/.324/.420 in the Arizona Fall League. Scouts can't say enough about Iglesias' defensive ability, raving about his lightning-fast hands, quick feet and strong arm. He has a short swing and makes consistent contact. Though he's small, he has bat speed and pop and could become a 10-homer hitter down the road. Add in his slightly above-average speed, and he draws comparisons to a young Orlando Cabrera--with a better glove. He has the upside of a No. 2 hitter, but Iglesias' aggressive nature at the plate makes it more likely that he'll hit in the bottom third of the order. Much of his offensive value may come from his batting average because he doesn't project to contribute a lot of power, steals or walks. The Red Sox have had a revolving door at shortstop since Nomar Garciaparra began to decline, and they hope Iglesias can end that. He could make his pro debut in Double-A and be ready for Boston when Marco Scutaro's new contract expires after 2011.
Minor League Top Prospects
Still just 22, Iglesias repeated Triple-A in 2012 and improved his offensive production from putrid to merely poor. He remains one of the minors' flashiest and best defenders at perhaps the most vital defensive position. His hands, footwork and range make managers gush about how fun he is to watch play defense and how easy he makes it look. Before heading to Boston, Iglesias finished his IL tenure by batting .329/.402/.397 in August, improving his pitch recognition and ability to sting mistakes. His hands work at the plate and he has bat-to-ball skills that allow him to make contact. The key will be making hard contact more consistently, being aggressive in fastball counts and not being overpowered. An average runner, Iglesias will never be an asset offensively. Even with his defensive prowess, he'll have to hit enough to not be a total liability in order to be an everyday player in the majors.
The Red Sox gave Iglesias a club-record $6.25 million bonus, and he showed why as the second-youngest regular in the EL. Managers were split on whether he or fellow Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (New Hampshire) was better offensively, but scouts clearly preferred Iglesias' glove. Iglesias has a chance to be a plus-plus defender as he gets a bit stronger physically and gets more acclimated to the U.S. style of play, learning how to position himself for cutoff throws and the like. He has an electric arm that allows him to make plays in the hole. He's also an above-average runner, both quick and fast. Offensively, Iglesias has some pop but projects as a bottom-of-the-lineup hitter. He'll have to become more polished in terms of his approach and pitch recognition. Added strength will help as well.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Infielder in the Boston Red Sox in 2013
- Rated Best Defensive SS in the International League in 2012
- Rated Best Defensive Infielder in the Boston Red Sox in 2012
- Rated Best Defensive SS in the International League in 2011
- Rated Best Defensive Infielder in the Boston Red Sox in 2011
- Rated Best Defensive SS in the Eastern League in 2010
- Rated Best Defensive Infielder in the Boston Red Sox in 2010
Background: A Cuban defector, Iglesias signed in 2009 for an $8.25 million major league contract that included a Red Sox-record $6.25 million bonus. He made his major league debut in 2011 but spent the bulk of 2012 in Triple-A. Scouting Report: Iglesias may be the best defensive shortstop prospect in the game. Rated as the International League's top defensive shortstop for two years running, he has exceptionally quick hands and feet. His arm is strong and former manager Bobby Valentine said Iglesias has more range than Rey Ordonez, the Gold Glover he had with the Mets. The problem is that Iglesias has hit .251/.302/.287 in Triple-A and looked helpless at the plate with Boston. While he has bat speed and makes contact, he draws few walks and offers no power. With average speed and good instincts, he can steal 10-15 bases a season. The Future: After trading Mike Aviles to the Blue Jays in order to get new manager John Farrell, the Red Sox will give Iglesias the opportunity to win the shortstop job in spring training. His defense can make him a valuable regular, even if his bat relegates him to the bottom of the lineup.