Of the many surprises that the Orioles had in 2020, the dominance of one José Iglesias was surely the top of that list.
Coming to Baltimore as a free agent in January of 2020, the Orioles were looking to add veteran leadership and depth to the infield. They got much more than that in Iglesias this past season. Undoubtedly the Orioles best hitter, landing Iglesias for another year on just $3.5 million is admittedly a steal.
In a shortened season due to a quad strain, Iglesias played in 39 games out of 60. In these 39 games, Iglesias had a slash line of .373/.400/.556 and a .956 OPS, aided by 17 doubles. If he had qualified for the at-bats for the batting title, Iglesias would have won by a long shot. He was about 30 at-bats short of the 186 mark, which is 3.1 at-bats per game on a 60-game scale.
Defensively, the Orioles also locked up a gold glove caliber shortstop, who in 2020 committed just one error in 168 innings in the field. Now pairing him with a former gold glove winner in Yolmer Sánchez as a platoon at second, the Orioles middle infield has improved greatly in the past year.
2021 will be a very fun season to watch Iglesias, as Oriole fans will actually get to see that production from 2020 on a 162-game scale.
Picking up Iglesias’ option was one of the main priorities this offseason, and it really comes as no surprise that the Orioles decided to do it. They would be incredibly dense if they had not.
Welcome back to Bridland, José!