Jose Iglesias vs. Stephen Drew, young vs. old, rookie vs. veteran. No matter how you want to look at it the bottom line is John Farrell has a decision to make at the shortstop position. With Will Middlebrooks recovery going according to plan he will be returning from the disabled list as scheduled. That being said, Iglesias' time playing third base on a regular basis will be done putting the Red Sox skipper on the hot seat. Some believe Iglesias will end up taking over as the Sox utility infielder bumping Pedro Ciriaco back down. If that is the case, Jose's at bats will be limited in the majors opposed to him going back to Pawtucket and getting regular at bats. Farrell's decision will not be an easy one as there are many factors that will go along with what he chooses to do at shortstop.
Here are the shortstops past 10 games statistics: Iglesias is hitting at a blistering .424 average with 6 runs scored, a home-run and 4 RBIs. Opposed to Stephen Drew in his last 10 games who has posted a .194 batting average also with a home-run and 4 RBIs. Drew's a career .263 hitter and if your looking for consistency the nod would have to go to Drew right now. However, in Iglesias' brief time in the bigs this year he has a .260 average and only seems to be improving at the plate. So batting wise they are pretty even right now but I would have to give the edge to the young Iglesias since he has the hot bat and faster, younger legs on the base path.
Defense will also play a big factor in Farrell's decision on who to chose at shortstop. Before Jose Iglesias stepped on the field for the Red Sox all the buzz about him was how beautiful his glove was at shortstop. Many called him the best defensive shortstop in the Major Leagues while he was still playing in Triple A Pawtucket which is unheard of. Well those rumors were true and Jose is poetry in motion when he's on the field. Stephen Drew has surprised a lot of people with his glove this year as well. Everyone knew he played a solid shortstop but he has surprised many fans, including myself, with some of his remarkable plays this season. Again the edge on defense has to go to Iglesias, his range alone separates himself from Drew and over shortstops across the league. Even during his best years I don't think Drew had the range at short quite like Jose does and for that Iglesias gets another check mark at shortstop.
The good thing about this dilemma is whatever Farrell decides to do he has a solid back up plan if/when something goes wrong. If he chooses to start Iglesias and his bat goes ice cold than he has a veteran shortstop who can slide back into the lineup hopefully with some pep in his step to win his job back. If Drew is his choice then he has a young stud still waiting in the wings to earn the nod at shortstop for the Red Sox. I believe the hardest decision he'll have to make is whether or not to send Iglesias back down to Pawtucket or keep as his utility guy if Drew continues to be the starting shortstop.
My prediction is Farrell WILL choose the kid, Jose Iglesias, to be the Sox starting shortstop. I just don't see him making the same mistake twice an send Iglesias' hot bat back to the minors and out of his lineup. As I said earlier we won't have to wait long to see what John Farrell decides as Middlebrooks will be returning soon. So stay tuned an find out as the conclusion of the shortstop saga in Boston comes to an end...for now