Sox Lose Now, Win Later?


The Boston Red Sox have placed shortstop Marco Scutaro on the 15 day DL and replaced him with top prospect Jose Iglesias.

Scutaro is believed to have a strained oblique, going through MRI testing Sunday morning to discover the injury’s severity.  Oblique’s can be tricky as Tampa Bay Rays slugger Evan Longoria found out earlier this season.  The injury makes it hard for teams or players to project a time frame for return.

The blow will not be that great for Boston, however, Scutaro not even being a regular starter on the team.  Jed Lowrie and his hot bat have taken over the position from the veteran.

While Lowrie is still young and producing well at the plate, there are concerns about his defense at short.  Some believe that he may be better suited at second or third base, positions already taken by All Stars Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia.

With question marks surrounding Lowrie, Red Sox fans may soon be calling for their believed shortstop of the future, Jose Iglesias.

The Cuban native entered the year as the team’s top rated prospect by Baseball America, after pitcher Casey Kelley was traded in the Adrian Gonzalez deal.

The shortstop has amazed many with his glove work, leading Keith Law to declare Inglesias the best defensive shortstop prospect he has ever seen.

While his defense is solid, Iglesias has some room for improvement offensively.

Shortstops can generally get away with a weaker bat as long as they play strong defense.  Bleacher Report previewed Iglesias this February and noted that this season in the minors they would like to see him hold a line of around .300/.350/.400 to go along with his plus plus D.

When the shortstop got the call, he was only managing to hit .253, reaching base at a measly clip of .278.  His impatience at the plate has always been an issue for Iglesias and it hasn’t improved this year as he’s only walked twice while striking out 17 times.

The team knows he is not going to win any home run crowns, but they do need Iglesias to improve on his slugging % which is currently dead even with his batting average.  That’s right, of his 22 hits so far this year; none have been for extra bases.

So why call him up?  Terry Francona explained the team’s reasoning this morning.

"“We all think he has a bright future here, but I don’t think right now is the time for him to be our starting shortstop.  Certainly, I would assume he’ll play some, but I don’t [know] when.  Maybe put him in for defense late, pinch run, we’ll find ways to try to use him, like we do with everybody.”"

I for one like how the Sox are approaching the situation.

They already have a shortstop who is hitting the ball well, but who many question defensively at short.  They bring up a prospect who most believe is MLB ready with the glove to relieve Lowrie late in games as a defensive replacement.  Makes sense to me.  Maybe Iglesias gets a start here and there, but the team will not be depending on him for his bat.

The other issue Boston can address is getting Iglesias accustomed to the media attention that surrounds an MLB club, especially one as popular as the Red Sox.  The team can use this opportunity to give the 21 year old a taste of the bigs and then when Scutaro returns they can send him down to continue honing his craft.

While he certainly has some work left to do, this move could greatly benefit Iglesias and the Red Sox down the road.