Jose Iglesias’ remarkable, invisible accomplishment

Jun 27, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Iglesias (11) rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It’ll never be made into a big deal. 

It isn’t reflected in WAR. It isn’t even really fully captured in traditional stats. 

Jose Iglesias has been one of the most impressive hitters in MLB this season and almost nobody is noticing.

He entered play on Friday night slashing .299/.340.398 with three home runs and 36 RBI on the season. Adjusted for the league and ballpark, and the day and age in which we recognize the added value of extra-base hits, he is credited with an OPS+ of 98.

Essentially, these numbers tell us that Iglesias is a league-average hitter but his contact rate is such that he plays up in certain situations

Of course, all of this ignores the true value he has brought with the stick this season.

You see, Iglesias is performing the minor miracle of being better on the road than at home as a Rockie. 

That might not sound like much to the average Joe off the street but to the well-educated Rockies fans, and to his coaches, it means a ton.

Iglesias is hitting a bewildering .353 away from home compared to the .247 he carries at Coors Field.

This is rarer than a unicorn. You’ve seen unicorns before if you’ve ever watched a fantasy movie, but you’ve never seen this before.

Not Larry Walker, not Nolan Arenado, not Todd Helton. Nobody who has worn a Rockies jersey has been this much better on the road than at home.

Over the years, it has been statistically proven that the Rockies play at a disadvantage when they leave the friendly confines. Every single year they rank at the very bottom of the league in the adjusted offensive numbers.

There isn’t a single All-Time Rockie hitter you can name who has better or even comparable numbers out on the road.

The splits have plagued this team since its inception.

Sure, there are a handful of counterexamples over the years for a short sample size. There have been years where Arenado or Charlie Blackmon managed to make their home run numbers close to even, for example.

But none of it compares to the sheer dominance that Iglesias has displayed as a road hitter this season. It also only adds to the perplexing nature of this dynamic that he has been so profoundly mediocre in the park that most rewards his style of play.

Also, this should not be mistaken for an argument that Iglesias is the most valuable or even underrated hitter in the game. He’s probably not. It is still the case, if a bit of an overstated one, that slugging is king and that he lacks in this all-important area.

Rather, it is still worth noting that what Iglesias is doing in 2022 comes with an exceptionally high degree of difficulty. 

Call it the “Hangover Effect” call it the “Margin of Air” call it whatever you want. It has chewed up and spit out a litany of quality hitters over the years. Far less famous than the parade of pitchers who’ve arrived in Denver and flamed out are the Marco Scutaros and Ian Desmonds and Daniel Murphys who could rake elsewhere but suddenly were shells of themselves deadline with this dynamic.

It hasn’t amounted to wins or an overall impressive offensive line for Jose Iglesias but it is absolutely incredible that he has found a way to somehow flip what appeared to be a law of nature on its head.

It turns out, you can hit away from Coors. Well, at least one guy can.

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