Throughout the 2000s, the Baltimore Orioles have had some notable players at short stop.
In the last 20 years, the Baltimore Orioles shortstops have been workhorses. Between 2004 and 2006, Miguel Tejada had three All-Star seasons where he had 162 starts with the O’s. In 2004, he earned a WAR of 7.4.
Then, in the 2010s, J.J. Hardy took over the position and held it for seven seasons. He had one All-Star season, but was the face of consistency before he retired after the 2017 season.
In 2018, Manny Machado took a break from third base for a season at short. Despite the doubters who thought the Platinum Glove third-baseman wouldn’t be able to handle the change, he earned a starting spot at the All-Star Game. Then, a couple of weeks later he went to the Dodgers where he played both third and short.
Sadly, Orioles fans have not yet been able to see Iglesias during the season. We got a glimpse during spring training, where he hit .389/.450/.444. But those stats were elevated from only 20 plate appearances.
Iglesias is a consistent hitter at the plate, but don’t expect him to hit for power. His career numbers are .273/.315/.371. In 2019, in his one season with the Cincinnati Reds, he hit 11 home runs. Prior to that, he was always in the single digits.
While he’s a decent hitter, his prowess is on the field. He is an acrobatic shortstop who can make tough plays look easy. If there is a player who is underrated, Iglesias is it.
During his time with the Detroit Tigers, he was consistently above average in range and fielding percentage. He regularly made TV highlight reels for his ability at short.
At 5’11, he’s small for a professional baseball player in today’s world. His glove work has been compared to Omar Vizquel, who is even shorter at 5’9. Vizquel and Iglesias worked together between 2015 and 2017 in Detroit. It was commonplace to see the two showing off their glove work before games started at Comerica Park.
With the Tigers, Iglesias and second-baseman Ian Kinsler were considered one of the best double-play combos in baseball. If Iglesias can get into a rhythm with the Orioles second baseman, who looks to be Hanser Alberto, they could be seriously fun to watch as the turn double plays at Camden Yards. Iglesias was making no-look passes to second before Javier Baez stole the show.
Hopefully, Orioles fans will get to see Iglesias perform his magic on the field in 2020. At age 30, he’s still looking athletic and strong. Despite being a new guy on the roster, he has eight years of MLB experience, which could propel him into a leadership position rather quickly.