Re: The Red Sox gamble: Should they entrust shortstop to Aviles and Punto?
posted at 1/31/2012 10:04 PM EST
1. A very poor fielder -- true. But Aviles is at worst an average fielder, not a very poor fielder, while right now, Iggy is a very bad hitter. If Iggy can become at least a poor hitter, he might be a better option.
"At worst an average fielder" sounds about right. It's hard to know for sure, but in limited action he does have a +12.4 UZR/150. I'm guessing, however, that he is middle of the road. He might be a top 10 hitting SS as well.
My guess is Iggy is a top 5 fielding SS and bottom 5 fielder. On the surface, it appears that Aviles is the better choice, but when you factor in that our SS will likely bat 9th and that the SS position is worth much more on defense than other positions, I'd say the choice is close, and I like to choose the defense when close.
2. And maybe, a better hitter at SS would have had a clutch hit to drive in runs -- or kept an inning alive and it turned into a big inning -- so the game wasn't close. We can play the maybe game all night long. And sure, the Sox have Punto to bring in for D but do they want to have to use three players to get through one position in all the close games.
I agree, the counterargument makes sense too, but all close games will not mean Iggy gets up in a PH situation.
Don't ignore my point. I have no problem with losing some offense for a great glove at SS. But unless Iggy shows something in the spring, he hasn't yet shown he has enough of a bat to provide the right mix. Again, there's no need to rush the kid -- especially when you consider that playing SS at Fenway can be a challenge for even experienced SS with a decent glove.
I have not ignored your point. I understand it well.
1) I don't think 22 is too young.
2) Iggy played 2 years in Cuba and 2 years in the minors already.
3) Tell Iggy not to worry about his bat and just catch the damn ball.
4) Anything over .200 is a plus, if he can save 40-80 hits over a year, not to mention keeping runners from trying to score when he's the cut-off guy & turning DPs.
I realize my opinion is just that: an opinion. I know I could be wrong...terribly wrong. I know Aviles/Punto is the safer bet with Iggy getting steady work in AAA, until the time is right (if ever), but my philosophy is that a great fielding SS influences games, pitcher's confidences, and momentum more than one batter's extra hit every 4 games.
I respect your opinion and those of others who want Aviles to get the chance. I actually have faith in Mike, and think he will likely have a better season than Scutty would have had here this year (Batting & fielding).