Scott Levesque Managing Editor
This week's Bleacher Tweets circulated around three topics: Jose Iglesias, Will Middlebrooks and rain delays. I tackle the first two topics below, but I'll give you the answer to the last one regarding rain delays and game cancelations.
"A game is stopped when the rain endangers the players or if the conditions impede the players' ability to fill their roles."
Hopefully, I satisfied all those rain delay tweets
because there were a TON of them.
If you have a question/s you want to ask Scott then send a tweet to @scottlevesque ending with #BleacherTweets. Who knows, you might see it next week on RedSoxLife. Seriously, you know you want to...
Could he be a middle of the lineup guy? Yes. Will he be a middle of the lineup guy? Not yet. When he returns from the disabled list to the Red Sox lineup Middlebrooks will need to focus on making contact with the ball on a consistent basis. Currently the third baseman is batting .201 with 8 home runs and 21 RBI in 46 games. Not exactly the stellar numbers many expected from the Red Sox sophomore.
Middlebrooks has a ton of talent, leadership and ability to hit for power, but if he's going to be in the middle of the lineup he'll need to combine all three, soon.
Pedro Ciriaco and Jose Iglesias are basically the same type of player. The only difference is Iglesias has a higher ceiling and is currently playing much better than Ciriaco at third base for the Red Sox. Keep in mind Ciriaco is 27-years old and Iglesias is only 23 which factors into the Sox decision to keep Iglesias on the field as oppose to Ciriaco.
In reality the Red Sox are grooming Iglesias to be the future shortstop for the organization so Ciriaco could have a bigger role with the team next season as their utility player off the bench.
I"m hoping Ciriaco is living out of his suitcase right now because it's only a matter of time before he's on his way back down to Pawtucket. That's not a reflection of his abilities, but rather a reflection of the Red Sox depth and farm-system development.
Going into the 2014 season Ciriaco will be seriously considered for a spot on the 40-man roster as a utility player. Until then he'll have to settle for occasional call-ups and sporadic playing time.
In a word, no. Middlebrooks has been struggling from the plate all season and Victorino has been on the disabled list long enough for the Red Sox to adjust to his absence. Iglesias - who replaced Middlebrooks at third - is batting .434 with 1 home run and 5 RBI in 16 games. A considerable upgrade, at the moment, from the struggling Middlebrooks. If you look at the defensive side of the equation Jose Iglesias has phenomenal at third which helps with the loss of Middlebrooks.
Daniel Nava has contributed on both sides of the box score as well. His .298 batting average, 31 runs, 8 home runs and 37 RBI in 51 games has played an essential part of the Red Sox owning the top spot in the AL East. He'll need to continue that offensive production to help keep them there. I guess we'll find out if Iglesias and Nava can help keep the Red Sox afloat in the coming weeks.
The Red Sox are currently in first place despite a slew of injuries to their roster. If their starting pitching can continue to dominate throughout the season then there's no reason why the Sox can't finish first in the AL East.
Now imagine Middlebrooks, Drew and Gomes all catch fire as the season progresses. You're talking about a scary lineup to go along with a stellar starting rotation. That would be a championship caliber team ready to win now, and in the future.
I'd say the likelihood is high considering he's played so well during his time with the Sox. Iglesias is a utility infielder that provides a lot of flexibility for Farrell late in games - defensively and speed on the bases. Let's keep in mind he's only 23-years old and has plenty of time to grow as a fielder and hitter.
Iglesias has given Middlebrooks the opportunity to recover 100% from his back injury and that's an invaluable asset to this organization. This year you'll probably see him on the bench (once Middlebrooks returns), but next year look for the youngster to take over at shortstop.