After finding out Scooter Gennett will be out for an extended period of time, the Cincinnati Reds made some changes to their middle infield. Now, new addition José Iglesias looks to make the most of his time at shortstop.
When Opening Day begins this Thursday for the Cincinnati Reds they will be without key player Scooter Gennett. After suffering a groin strain in Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, it was decided that he would miss 2-3 months of action. With that news, usual shortstop José Peraza has been moved over to fill in for Gennett and recently acquired veteran José Iglesias takes over opposite him.
Assuming Gennett is possibly out until the end of June, the team is going to need production to fill that void. In the first three months of 2018, Gennett totaled 101 hits, 13 home runs, and 54 RBI while batting over .340 each of those months.
While that is certainly a tall task, this new middle infield can certainly hold their own defensively and offensively. The more assuring news is that Scooter Gennett put up these numbers last season when there wasn’t a healthy Scott Schebler or Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp in the dugout either.
Looking for a fresh start on the third team of his career, shortstop José Iglesias is finding himself in game action sooner than most thought. With Peraza now at second base, fans will be seeing double vision when they turn two on double plays. While not the offensive stalwart that Gennett is, Iglesias still provides a veteran presence and is a proficient defensive replacement.
Last season as a Detroit Tiger, Iglesias had 5 home runs with 48 RBIs and a .269 AVG in 125 games. What is even more optimistic is that his slugging percentage (.389) and on-base plus slugging (.699) are the best they’ve been since 2015 when he was an All-Star with the Tigers. While he did battle a lower abdominal strain during the latter half of 2018, his spring debut with the Reds has looked strong and consistent.
Originally starting out as a minor league invite, Iglesias has found himself in the heart of this lineup in a crucial time. With the improvements this team has made, it’s imperative that the first few months are more wins than loses for this group. How awesome would it be for this team to be in contention for the division and add a healthy Gennett back?
With the NL Central arguably the toughest division in baseball, having Gennett out for the first half isn’t lifting optimism for fans. I expect that Iglesias can continue his strong defense and be supported by the other power hitters to ease the pain of not having Gennett. If Iglesias can replicate his numbers from last season if not improve on them, the Cincinnati Reds won’t miss a beat with getting their offense rolling.