Jose Iglesias’ Shortstop Skills Hard to Ignore at Red Sox Spring Training

by NESN Staff

March 5, 2010

Jose Iglesias' Shortstop Skills Hard to Ignore at Red Sox Spring Training The drills are finally over, and the Red Sox have begun their spring schedule. With the team taking on some major league talent, questions are pouring in from Red Sox fans.

Let's get right to it.

Which Red Sox position player prospect has opened your eyes?
–Tom, Sanford, Maine

It is early in camp and only a few games have been played, but it is hard to ignore Jose Iglesias. The 20-year-old Cuban defector, who is extremely fun to watch with his glove, will continue to work on his offense and mature. The shortstop spot has been such a revolving door, but it may stop spinning in the coming years. There is always a player that you do not know much about who grabs your attention in the spring. In the past, Hanley Ramirez was one, and last year, Daniel Bard was another.

The question is how soon we will see Jose Iglesias in Boston. Also, Dustin Pedroia has sort of taken him under his wing.

Which pitcher do you think will get the Opening Night start against the Yankees? Does it matter who starts the first game of the season?
–Andi, Brighton, Mass.

I think Josh Beckett will, but I am not sure it matters. As we saw at the end of last season, it was Jon Lester who started Game 1 against Los Angeles. I think while the season ended that way, it may not start that way this year.

It is going to be so much fun to know that every night the starter the Red Sox send out will have a great chance of winning. The addition of John Lackey is still hard to imagine. It is, however, true, and the Red Sox send an ace at opponents now virtually every night. Just think: The Red Sox' third starter on paper was an ace with the team that swept them in the postseason last year.

How does David Ortiz look swinging the bat this spring?
–Mark, Minneapolis, Minn.

Good. He appears to be of sound mind and body, and he looks to be slimmer and in better shape. We watched him hit a home run on Wednesday against Northeastern in his final at-bat, but spring training is not always a good barometer.

That said, seeing David Ortiz go deep in any form is a welcome sight. I think the beginning of the season will be the most important and defining point for Ortiz. Last year, his start was well-documented and his first home run took months to produce. It snowballed, and when he finally turned it around, he was hitting down in the order for the first time in his career. If Ortiz can go back to some semblance of the Ortiz of old, then people will not be talking about the Red Sox' lack of pop for very long.

Will Kevin Youkilis continue to move from first to third?
–Tony, Lexington, Mass.

I think he will. We spoke with him the other night, and he was saying that he would prefer to zero in on one position but has no issue with continuing to move back and forth. I would think there will be days that Victor Martinez will end up at first and Youkilis will be at third for Adrian Beltre when Jason Varitek catches. It is a great asset for Terry Francona to have someone who is as versatile and willing as Kevin Youkilis has been. I remember when Youkilis was just starting at first base in the spring. I would never have imagined him winning a gold glove — not because he was not good, but because he was just moving there and making the adjustment.

When will we see Casey Kelly pitching in the majors?
–Aaron, Pensacola, Fla.

There are many who believe we will see him this season at some point for a start or two in Boston. I guess the team's need will play a large role. If the Red Sox end up short on starters due to injury, they may need him. How he progresses in the minor leagues to start the season will also be a defining factor.

Concentrating solely on pitching now will be quite an adjustment for Kelly, but it appears to be the right move for the organization. It's always dicey when deciding when the right time is to bring a young arm up. We have seen in the past that if it does not go well sometimes and that it can be counterproductive to development.

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