The position of shortstop hasn’t really changed in recent years. It has, in terms of perception more than reality, returned to its roots as home to slap-hitting glove-first guys. After a “golden generation” of power hitting shortstops like Alex Rodriguez, early-career Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra; the position is once again home to many baseball players who wouldn’t be in the big leagues were it not for their ability to play a mean short. The ability to hit is an added bonus for shortstops, not a requirement.
Jeff Sullivan showed the start difference between the elite offensive shortstop(s) like Troy Tulowitzki and…nobody else in his Fangraphs positional power ranking at the beginning of the year. There is Tulo and then there is everyone else.
When a player is as strong defensively as Jose Iglesias, the Red Sox shortstop by way of Cuba, any thing this player offers in terms of offense is a bonus. Free money. A gift. Yet offense is just what Jose Iglesias has provided the “surprising” Red Sox, according to his early numbers. Iglesias owns a .441 wOBA in the early stages of 2013, good for fourth among big league SSers with 20 plate appearances. That’s terrific, isn’t it?
Well, yes and no. Fun? Yes! Meaningful. Not in the least.