Jose Iglesias, SS
Iglesias, as you know, has done more than just his time in Pawtucket this year. He began the season with the big-league club in Boston, filling in for Stephen Drew while the presumed starter recovered from a concussion suffered during spring training. Prior to 2013, Iglesias' career OPS+ -- granted, accumulated in all of 83 plate appearances -- was just 12. Yes, 12, where 100 is average, and around 90 is average for a shortstop. After hitting .450/.476/.550 in another small sample to start the year, he brought his career OPS+ to 47. Not quite where he needs to be in terms of erasing the 2011-2012 damage, but hey, baby steps.
He hasn't done quite as much damage back in Pawtucket, but he does have just under a 700 OPS in limited playing time, including a homer -- it's worth pointing out that homer, early as it is, simply because Iglesias came into 2013 with just three of them in his career. He's never going to hit a lot of them, but he doesn't have to. If he can make contact, hit a few doubles down the lines, and put some balls where they ain't en route to a 650 OPS or so, then his defense will take care of the rest. His 2013, to this point -- spring, MLB, and MiLB -- suggests that this might be in the cards soon. We'll see, of course, but you have to like where things are going compared to the past.
Brock Holt, IF
It's hard to picture the Brock Holt we want -- arms raised in a celebratory announcement of his own presence -- when his OPS is barely over 500. He's had all of 37 plate appearances, though, and still has a more than solid .378/.430/.457 line at Triple-A in 33 career games. There's too little of either sample to get worked up either positively or negatively, but know that Holt has shown an ability to make contact and draw a walk, at Double-A, and if not for Pedro Ciriaco on the big-league roster, might already be on the Red Sox.
Holt has split his time between second and shortstop with the PawSox, and while he won't see as much time at short with Jose Iglesias around, the idea is to have him prepped to be a utility infielder. Third base is somewhere he hasn't played before, and there are concerns he doesn't have the arm for it, but that's likely in the cards given the Red Sox pushed Ciriaco over there last year out of need.
Hazelbaker wasn't protected by the Red Sox from the Rule 5 draft, but he also wasn't selected. This is curious, given he can be position anywhere in the outfield without anything terrible happening, and has, at times, shown lots of patience or power. The problem, and what's kept him from being considered much of a prospect, is that he doesn't tend to show patience and power together too often. He's also already 25, which, while not ancient, isn't exactly young for a Triple-A outfielder, either.
He already has four homers for Pawtucket, continuing the power outburst from 2012 that got him promoted to the level in the first place. He hasn't walked much, however, and has struck out 27 percent of the time in the season's early going. Those rates don't matter now, but if they hold, they will, and it'll be the kind of thing that keeps Hazelbaker in the minors, while serving as a reminder of just how he avoided Rule 5 selection to begin with.
Read more Red Sox:
- John Farrell’s first big mistake
- Looking back at the Red Sox’ Victor Martinez - Justin Masterson trade
- Ubaldo Jimenez, the Red Sox, and the 2011 trade deadline
- Boston, you’re our home
- Evan Longoria not pleased with Angel Hernandez’s call