Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Quick Look at the Newest Player to Join the Dodger Organization, Jeremy Hazelbaker

The Dodgers dealt Alex Castellanos to Boston today for a AAA outfielder, Jeremy Hazelbaker.  When Alexander Guerrero was signed two days ago, the Dodgers freed up a position on the 40-man roster by designating Castellanos for assignment.  This trade isn’t surprising to me.  This is a swap of minor league outfielders and Hazelbaker brings some upside, which is speed.  He stole 37 bags at Pawtucket last season.

So the mid-season deal two years ago where the Dodgers traded Rafael Furcal to the Cardinals now results in Hazelbaker in the Dodger organization.  Since he’s not on the 40-man, he’ll need to impress the organization if he wishes to play some in Los Angeles next year.  Hazelbaker has 4 years of minor league seasoning and is 26 years old.  He’s a lifetime .258 hitter and he has played all three outfield positions.  Lately mostly in LF.

A native of Muncie, Indiana.  So there’s always that connection with Don Mattingly, though that’s a 230 mile jaunt from Don’s Evansville, IN home.  Hazelbaker is a tall lanky kid, at 6’3”, 200 lbs.  He’s a lefthanded batter that graduated from Ball State.  Scouts report that he haa a tendency to strike out a lot, but that beats banging into DPs.  It’ll be interesting to see what the Dodgers hitting gurus of Valentin and McGwire can do for him.

Attached are some articles from the PawSox minor league blog.  Linked HERE
This is an excellent site that includes a few video clips from last year, where Jeremy was interviewed.  He seems to be an enthusiastic and positive kid.  Hopefully his adjustment to the Dodger organization will go smoothly.  He spent last off-season  playing for Obregon in the Mexican League.  

Hazelbaker has that classic pretty left-handed swing follow through.(photo by Kelly O'Connor/PawSoxblog.mlblogs.com)

Below is the four year old scouting report on Hazelbaker when he was drafted in 2009.  I'm not sure if there is improvement in some of his weaker areas.  Interestingly, the ceiling that was predicted back then seems to be fairly accurate.:

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.

It should be noted that for three consecutive season, Hazelbaker progressed nicely through the Red Sox organization, with OPSpver .800. This past season was his first regression, as his OPS decreased to .687 and he struggled against AAA pitching.  One thing in Hazelbaker's game that hasn't regressed is his speed, and 37 out of 44 SB attempts attests to that.  

The Boston Globe’s Craig Forde wrote, “He [Hazelbaker] needs to improve his patience and cut down on the first-pitch swings that seem to almost always result into outs for him and he needs to improve at recognizing pitches which should help tie everything together.”

Baseball America has this to say : “Hazelbaker can go from the left side of the plate to first base in less than 4.0 seconds on a bunt and his speed rates a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. In addition to sheer quickness, he also possesses the best baserunning instincts in the system. More than just a speedster, also has plus raw power to his pull side.”


Final World Series thought...

Carlos Beltran banged his ribs against the right field wall while making a home run saving catch in the second inning of Game 1 of the World Series tonight.  He couldn’t continue playing after returning to the dugout between innings.  The Cardinal training staff announced that he suffered a right rib contusion, which was the exact same thing the Dodgers diagnosed Hanley Ramirez with initially after he was hit with a pitch in game one of the NLCS.

Looks to me that he might have to play the remainder of the series with a possible cracked rib.  If the Cardinals are smart, they’ll get x-rays and an MRI immediately and not wait until tomorrow when Beltran wakes up and is unable to move.

After all the whining and crying from the Cardinals regarding the Dodgers celebrating some of their positive moments on the field during the NLCS,  which was as hypocritical as all get out, I really have a hard time feeling sorry for them.

Nobody wishes injuries on anybody, and I certainly don’t for Beltran.  But just once, I see some poetic justice in baseball this year, and immediately after St. Louis benefitted from the injury to Hanley Ramirez.   I believe that injury was the biggest factor in costing the Dodgers the series.


1 comment:

  1. Evan I truly believe in Karma! And it looks like the Cards received a massive shipment of it with Beltran's injury!