The prospect parade continued on Sunday as the Boston Red Sox announced they were calling up slick fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias to take the spot of Marco Scutaro, who is headed to the disabled list.
This call up has exponentially less fanfare than that of Eric Hosmer for many reasons, chief among them being that he isn’t near the talent from a fantasy aspect and the fact that he’s essentially going to be a defensive replacement.
The 52nd-ranked prospect by Baseball America is unquestionably excellent with the glove which has allowed him to climb the minor league ranks and reach AAA at the age of 21, but his bat lags way behind. It’s always going to, too. His ceiling is going to be a Rey Ordonez-plus. He likely won’t be quite as inept at the plate, but .700 OPS will be a challenge (Ordonez had a career .600 OPS).
His lack of skill with the bat combined with his role as a defensive replacement make him a complete nonfactor in all fantasy formats. I have seen him drafted to minor league rosters in some AL-Only leagues and I’m not entirely sure why (and I’m talking long-term, not just ’11). Perhaps it is because he is the top rated or at least one of the top rated prospects on a high profile team, but those lists are all-encompassing meaning his remarkable defense matters.
Unless you play a Strat-O-Matic or Scoresheet league, his defense means nothing for fantasy players.
I was hoping that Yamaico Navarro would get a call soon even over Iglesias as he brings a lot more potential with the bat, but he suffered an oblique strain and on May 7th he hit the 7-day DL in the minors. That may be more why Boston went with Iglesias.
Navarro had a strong season last year (hitting .275/.356/.437 in AA and AAA) crossing three levels including a 20-game stint with the Red Sox from late August through the end of the year. He was clearly overmatched in the small sample (.143/.174/.143), but that’s not too surprising for a 22-year old who had just 16 games of AAA experience prior to reaching the big leagues.
He is back in Pawtucket and off to a great start this season hitting .329/.436/.612 in 101 plate appearances. He has 14 extra base hits including eight doubles, two triples and four home runs. He has driven in 12, scored 19 and two stolen bases.
Perhaps as impressive as anything in his start is the 1:1 K/BB split (13 apiece). His plate patience has been something he seems to be working on constantly as he was sitting 2.4-2.5 in 2007 and 2008 before dropping to 2.0 in 2009 and then a really nice improvement to 1.3 last year.
Primarily a shortstop in his minor league career, Navarro has also seen time at second base, third base and all three outfield spots this season. With that flexibility plus a great start at the dish, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Red Sox soon selected him to be their super-utility man especially in light of the fact that their backup outfielders, Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald, are hitting a robust .158 combined (9-for-57). It will depend on how those two play in the coming weeks and how quickly Navarro heals from the oblique.
But again even adding his 2011 start, he still has just 39 games above AA and he is still just 23 years old. I think Navarro is someone to strongly consider depending on league format. He may still be available in dynasty/ultra leagues, so check your wire. Meanwhile, AL-Only leaguers using a more limited minor league roster (3-7 slots) might want to make room to invest as he will almost certainly get the call before September, especially if he keeps raking the ball when he returns from injury. Don’t start releasing guys who are top 5-7 in their organization for him, but he is as good as any other lower rated org. guy… unless the org. is Kansas City.