Colorado Rockies player reviews: Iglesias proved a Rockie can hit the road in his only season in purple

Welcome to the 2022 edition of Ranking the rockywhere we take a look back at each player to record playing time for the rocky in 2022. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. “Ranking” is an organizing principle that is taken from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff discussed. We’ll start with the player with the lowest rWAR and end with the player with the highest.

★ ★ ★

No. 7, Jose Iglesias: 1.2 rWAR

When it became clear that Trevor Story, the Rockies’ two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger for the past six years, would not be re-signing with the Rockies after the 2021 season, the Rockies needed someone to stick around. the fortress until the spectacular prospect Ezequiel Tovar was ready for the big leagues.

Enter José Iglesias. Not only did he complete well, but he became one of the best hitters in Rockies history away from Coors Field.

Iglesias, who arrived with 10 years of MLB experience with the Red Sox, Tigers, Reds, Orioles and Angels before signing with the Rockies, signed a one-year, $5 million contract on March 10 , six days after the shutdown ended. . Despite suffering a hand injury that forced him to miss more than three weeks in September, Iglesias finished first among the Rockies with 400 at-bats with a .292 batting average and second with a .328 on-base percentage ( qualified batsmen needed at least 500 at bat). -bats, making Brendan Rodgers the team batting champion at .266).

The most impressive stats came from Iglesias’ bat on the road. Away from Coors Field, Iglesias slashed .315/.348/.399. The next best road batting averages for players with at least 200 at bats were Yonathan Daza at .289 and Charlie Blackmon at .241. The Cuban native even ranked 12th in the MLB in road batting average for players with at least 200 at bats among Michael Harris II’s .317 and just above Aaron Judge’s .313.

When most players come to Colorado, they relish the opportunity to hit at Coors Field. It didn’t turn out that way for Iglesias, who hit .264 in the Mile High City. He discussed this unique circumstance with MLB.com’s Manny Randhawa when he was hitting .353 on the road in late July and threatening to break Mike Kingery’s all-time record .362 road batting average the times of the Rockies.

“I feel like on the road, the ball breaks the way it’s supposed to,” Iglesias said. “Whereas here, it doesn’t break like it’s supposed to. It should be easier for a batsman [at Coors Field] — I think when you get used to it, it’s generally better to hit here, obviously. But having an idea of ​​where the ball is going to end up helps.”

While Iglesias was well behind Story’s 2.5 rWAR in 2022, he was one of 10 Rockies with an rWAR over 1.0 and cost Colorado a quarter of Story’s salary (he made $20 million in 2022, the first of a six-year-old, $140). million agreement).

In 2019, Iglesias hit a career-high 11 home runs. This year, he hit three: two at Coors Field and one away from home. Although he wasn’t big on power, he was the Rockies’ best hitter by average and on-base percentage with runners in scoring position. In 99 RISP at bats, he hit .354/.402/.475 with 26 singles, nine doubles and a home run. He drove in 40 runs, walked six times and struck out just 14 times.

When his hand injury sidelined him on Sept. 6, Bud Black spoke with Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post about the surprise boost Iglesias gave the Rockies at the plate.

“I hadn’t seen much of Jose live,” Black said. “We’ve always thought of Jose as a glove first, but over the years he’s become a good hitter. He is a lifetime hitter (.280) and has shown this year that he has good bat-to-ball skills, using the entire field. All these things.”

Although his defense was not rewarded, Iglesias made some outstanding plays and also had 69 double plays (8th most in MLB among shortstops), serving as a key to the defense that they rely on so much the Rockies. He finished with a .981 slugging percentage and eight errors in 975 2/3 innings with -4 total earned runs.

A man who defected from Cuba while playing a tournament with Cuba’s youth national team in Canada, 18-year-old Iglesias crossed the border, sought asylum and spent time in prison in Montana trying to make ends meet in the United States playing baseball. . He didn’t know if he would ever see his family again and had to take up residence in the Dominican Republic before finally getting his American citizenship in a ceremony at Comerica Park in 2018.

In 2022, Iglesias brought his love of the game to Colorado. He also witnessed MLB history, becoming the first player to congratulate former teammate Miguel Cabrera on his 3,000th hit.th he struck out when Antonio Senzatela delivered him on April 23.

At the end of the season, when his hand healed, Iglesias returned to the lineup, playing four games in the final road trip of the season before becoming a free agent. It may be Tovar’s time in Colorado, but Iglesias made the most of his time in purple.

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