Jose Iglesias, SS
Iglesias is back in the PawSox lineup after a few days where he may or may not have been disciplined for effort. There was a lot of puzzling pieces together, and a piece by Sean McAdam that flat-out said this was the case, but it's one of those things we're mostly left to guess about without a bit more confirmation. Either way, he's playing again, so whatever it is has likely passed.
More important (and more tangible) is that Iglesias hasn't hit very much of late. Slumps happen, and Iglesias has always been streaky. Plus, for all his advances, he's still not a complete hitter yet -- that's what Triple-A is for, though. As long as the end result is that he's moving forward rather than backward -- and early appearances seem to say that's the case -- then he'll be fine. Plus, if what he ends up producing in the majors is akin to his current Triple-A OPS, he should be fine given that glove: the average AL shortstop is at just 674 right now, and the average AL shortstop doesn't field like Jose Iglesias.
Brock Holt, IF
Holt's start has been disappointing, but we're also talking about a month of baseball at a level he hasn't had much exposure to. Plus, the Red Sox seem unconcerned: Holt was out of the lineup for the PawSox on Wednesday because he had headed up to Boston in case Will Middlebrooks was unable to play following his collision with a wall and David Ross. While his absence initially sparked concern that he might have been designated for assignment, Holt himself tweeted that he had cleaned out his locker because of the just-in-case trip north.
The internet is pretty cool, you guys.
Even with his early struggles, his career line at Triple-A (and in the International League -- that's where the Pirates' Triple-A club plays, too) is still .315/.381/.371 with 29 strikeouts against 21 walks. You would certainly take that on-base percentage and ability to put the ball in play from a versatile infielder. Over his last 10 games, the average still isn't there, but he's posted a .359 on-base percentage and stolen three bases with the help of seven walks. The beauty of free passes: you can still be productive even when the hits aren't falling.
Hazelbaker's early power surge has turned into something of an outage, as he has just one extra-base hit in his last 10 games after smashing eight of them -- including five homers -- in his first 19. We've seen this from him before, though, and in far more extended stretches than 10 games. It didn't stop him from finally figuring out Portland after far more time than he has spent in Pawtucket -- a stretch that led to his promotion to Triple-A to begin with.
That's not to say Hazelbaker is a lock to be highly productive or anything, just a reminder that this boom-or-bust thing isn't new from him. He strikes out often, draws a few walks, and either hits for power or doesn't. Right now, the switch is flipped off, but it could be the reverse when we check back in a few weeks.
It likely won't change his prospect status, however. He's probably a bench outfielder in the bigs, but we'll have to see him crush the International League for a while before that probably can be said with more confidence. At least the Red Sox didn't lose him in the Rule 5 draft, so they've got at least one more season to figure out the answer on their own.
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