Iglesias--what is Jim Leyland thinking?
posted at 10/9/2013 5:13 PM EDT
A week or so ago I started a thread about how much Leyland likes Iglesias and basically said I had no quarrel with starting the brilliant rookie SS formerly of the Sox.
But today I looked at some ALDS stats. Granted, a small sample, but also a crucial part of the season. Reggie Jackson would be long forgotten were it not for those 3 dingers in one WS game.
What I found is Iglesias unsurprisingly can't hit spit against Oakland pitching. His OPS--that's OBP plus slugging percetage--is an appallingly low .237. With a little effort he could get it close to the mendoza line tonight.
Then I looked at the former Tigers SS Peralta's OPS because he is in fact off of probation. His OPS is 1.250, over 5 times as high as the new SS. That he even has an OPS is thanks to his willingness to play LF instead of SS. No way will Jim Leyland allow anyone to displace his magical SS Iglesias.
So, yes, Peralta's in the lineup, so no problem, right? Not quite. See, Peralta replaced leftfielder Kelly, and his OPS in the ALDS is 1.333. Now I don't think it takes a genius to see that Leyland is giving up a lot of hitting to keep Iglesias at SS.
But it gets better. One of the favorite themes of the Iglesias believers is he gets to balls other SS's just can't get to. A perfect example is over the hill, broke down, wrong race SS Stephen Drew. Slow. No range. All of which explains his low error rate. He probably doesn't get to more than a grounder every 4 games or so. Guess what? In the four games to date Drew has had 18 fielding chances--with no errors--to Iglesias's 9 fielding chances, also with no errors.
Again, it is important to acknowledge we are only talking about 4 games, not a season and not even a month.
But these are pretty darn important games, and my question of Leyland would be, why in the sam hill are you playing a guy at SS who isn't getting many balls hit to him and can't hit a lick? Why not go with the good hitting Peralta, presumably with less range, at SS and get the good hitting Kelly back out there in left field? Did I forget to mention the Tigers must win Thursday or they are gone?