Ryan Rowland-Smith, LHP
Rowland-Smith isn't normally in the updates, but he's here in place of Jose Iglesias, who is currently in the majors rather than at Triple-A. Despite his normal absence, Rowland-Smith is someone to watch, though: he's been exceptional in relief for the PawSox this year, but, in his big-league career, has also been a productive reliever.
As a starter in 269 major-league innings, Rowland-Smith posted a 4.87 ERA with 4.4 strikeouts per nine and a 1.4 K/BB. As a reliever, though, in 93 frames, he nearly doubled his punch out rate, moved his K/BB to 2.3, nearly havled his home run rate, and saw his ERA drop to 3.68. He could be a useful piece for the Red Sox should their bullpen run into any more trouble, or reserves like Alex Wilson and Jose De La Torre, both on the 40-man, are unable to come to the majors when needed.
Rowland-Smith's presence, in addition to fellow left-handers Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales, should also give the Red Sox additional reason to be fine with trading Andrew Miller, if a time comes this summer when that's necessary in order to upgrade elsewhere. Nothing might ever come of Rownald-Smith's being in Pawtucket, but if something does happen and he ends up in the majors as a reliever, he seems up to the task.
Brock Holt, IF
Holt's .255/.339/.276 line might not be doing much for you, but realize he scuffled in April to the tune of .152/.237/.152. May was a different story, though, with Holt rebounding to .342/.424/.480, that was more than double his April OPS. He's been on an absolute tear of late even though he hasn't been hitting for a lot of power, with an OPS over 1000 in his last 10 games despite just one extra-base hit. He obviously won't stay there forever, but this is a quality course correction, if nothing else.
He's been great when ahead in the count, but has struggled when behind -- that's something he'll need to work on to remain consistent. Even with that issue, he's a career .325/.392/.379 hitter at Triple-A in 274 plate appearances; the fact there's some room to grow is a positive.
Jeremy Hazelbaker, OF
Hazelbaker is on the opposite track of Holt, as, after a 933 OPS and five long balls in April, the outfielder has yet to go deep this month. He's lost 155 points of OPS since the calendar turned over, in large part due to a complete inability to produce against his fellow left-handers. Hazelbaker is at .160/.222/.180 against southpaws in 50 at-bats, and while that's not a whole lot, roughly one-fourth of all plate appearances as horrible will drag down a line.
That sort of thing would just make him a platoon player in the majors, but Hazelbaker has to prove he's capable of even that. His line against righties is obviously much better, but a lot of it has to do with batting average, something Hazelbaker, who has struck out 27 percent of the time in 2013, can't necessarily rely on. To put it another way, Hazelbaker is hitting .287 in spite of a .378 batting average on balls in play. There's still work to be done here, even if it looks like he's progressing nicely.
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