Saturday, October 17, 2009

Iglesias goes deep in Arizona Fall League

Here's what ESPN's Arizona Fall League blogger had to say about the Mesa Solar Sox debut of shortstop Jose Iglesias, the Cuban defector signed to a major-league contract this summer:

Jose Iglesias ... already looks like a future Gold Glove candidate at short, with tremendous actions at the position. The ball just disappears into his glove. He's also had a couple of chances to show some range. However, the bat is still a work in progress. He squared three balls up on the barrel on Opening Day, but they didn't really go anywhere. First impressions are that he could get the bat knocked out of his hands right now against advanced pitching.

That note was posted on Thursday -- and in Iglesias' second game, he hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning against Mets prospect Josh Stinson. Iglesias has three hits in his first five at-bats with the Mesa Solar Sox with a double and a home run, and he's even walked twice.

So far, so good.

(Even as the hype machine revs up, however, it's important to remember that he's still just 19 years old and thus at least two or three years away from being ready to play in the major leagues.)


One other note: Red Sox scouting director Jason McLeod gave an interesting answer in a chat session in's Virtual Press Box this week. A reader asked if top prospect Casey Kelly might appear in the major leagues by next September.

McLeod's response: "I think that would be a lot to ask of Casey considering he hasn’t had a full season of pitching under his belt. He is advanced for his age but as with all of our pitchers, there will be a plan laid out for him in terms of innings, usage, etc."

Well, that's interesting. As recently as late September, Kelly still was acting as if a decision had yet to be made. He split last season between pitching and playing shortstop, and while he didn't want to wait too long to make his decision, he certainly sounded as if he wasn't there yet.

"This year was eye-opening," he said in a session with the press at Fenway Park. "Playing both, it doesn't really help either side from the pitching standpoint or the shortstop standpoint. ... We'll get it done a little faster so I can get ready for pitching or get ready for shortstop because the workouts are totally different for position players and pitchers."

McLeod's answer, though, makes it sound as though Kelly and the Red Sox already have made their decision -- the only decision they could make. Kelly had a 1.12 ERA in nine starts at Single-A Greenville and a 3.09 ERA in eight starts at Single-A Salem along with a combined strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 4.5. As a pitcher, he's far and away the top prospect in the organization.

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