This is not Jeremy Hazelbaker. Or maybe it is. You have no idea.
Writing a team blog is fun. You get to argue about the manager, complain about bullpen usage, monitor your favorite minor leaguers, and rosterbate about the upcoming season. But sometimes, hours before the first game of the World Series, a trade is made that’s so minor that you wonder, “does anyone even care? Do I even care? Does the player involved even care?”
With that as a backdrop, for the sake of utter, painful, completion-ism: Alex Castellanos, DFA’d last week when Mike Baxter was claimed off of waivers, was traded today to Boston for outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker, who I’m still not sure is a real person.
Outfielder with a filled-out athletic frame and plus speed. Hazelbaker had a breakout year at Ball State in 2009, showing an excellent ability to make contact. Turns on the ball well, drops the head of the bat on the ball nicely and creates good lift. Swing can be on the long side. Struggles with fastballs on the inner third. Solid-average power potential. Hit tools plays down due to poor recognition of secondary pitches. Has a lot of trouble with breaking balls and struggles against left-handed pitching. Hazelbaker gets out of the box well and has excellent instincts on the base paths. Improving with his reads and jumps. Potential impact runner on the bases. Defensively, Hazelbaker has above-average range, but tends to freeze on contact and takes poor routes to the ball. Does not see the ball well off the bat. Fringe-average arm strength. Speed to play center field, but profiles as a left fielder. Ceiling of a decent fourth outfielder, but may end up as an up-and-down player due to pitch recognition.
He then went out and hit .257/.313/.374 for Pawtucket, while striking out a ton — 27.3%, in the minors! — and for all intents and purposes is a one-tool player, especially if he can’t play center. You know, like Dee Gordon, except this guy at least has 60 homers in four-plus minor league seasons. He’s not going to be added to the 40-man roster, and he’ll most likely be 2014′s Matt Angle, taking up space in left field next to Joc Pederson in center for the Isotopes.
So if he’s a good interview to at least make Chris Jackson’s life easier, then good enough for me. Otherwise, this is a thing that happened and no more, and now you know about it, and for that I apologize.