clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2017 Arizona Diamondbacks Review #25: Jeremy Hazelbaker

In each of the last two seasons, Hazelbaker has been among the hottest hitters... At least, over the first week or so!

Arizona Diamondbacks v Kansas City Royals Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images
  • Date of birth: August 14, 1987
  • 2017 line: 41 games, 61 PA, .346/.443/.577 = 1.020 OPS, 2 HR, 10 RBI
  • 2017 value: 0.9 bWAR
  • 2017 salary: $1.082 million*
  • SnakePit rating: 5.40

2017 Analysis

Hazelbaker certainly seems to roar out of the gate. Last year, in his rookie season as a Cardinal, he started off 13-for-27 with three home-runs. This year, after we picked him up off waivers, he managed the remarkable feat of going the entire opening week of the season without being retired at the plate, while appearing in every contest. Hazelbaker went 6-for-6 with a pair of walks over the first six games, after being close to the last position player to make the roster. Inevitably, his bat cooled off, and the 2-for-20 streak which followed got Jeremy sent down to Reno early in May, and spent most of the rest of the year there. Only seven of his 41 appearances were starts,

Af first, it might be surprising we didn’t see more of Jeremy Hazelbaker, because all he did in those very limited at-bats was hit. However, there’s no denying his MLB line this year was inflated due to the .533 BABIP at that level, and when getting regular playing time for the Aces, Hazelbaker’s stats were rather less impressive. He hit .279/.341/.495, for an .836 OPS that was little different from team average. Jeremy was called back up for half of June, after Yasmany Tomas went on the DL, and was also one of the D-backs’ September call-ups. However, his positional flexibility counts as a positive, with him starting games at all three outfield spots this season.

2018 prospects

Hazelbaker still has a little more than a year’s worth of service time under his belt, and Arizona picked him up on waivers from St. Louis on November 4, as Mike Hazen’s first real transaction as GM. So I’m not certain why Baseball Reference states he earned close to twice league minimum salary this season (hence the asterisk beside the number above). Presuming he is indeed still pre-arbitration, I think the team could do worse as a fourth outfielder next year, to back up David Peralta, A.J. Pollock and Yasmany Tomas. He’s a left-handed bat, who could spell all three of them as necessary, plays decent defense and is a solid base-runner: he was 11-0 in stolen-bases for Reno this year.

There are issues, not least with his plate discipline. Across the majors and minors, Jeremy had 78 strikeouts in 276 plate-appearances this year, a 28.3% K-rate that is troublingly high. However, he did have 29 walks, a 10.5% BB-rate that helps mitigate the strikeouts somewhat. I was a little surprised he only had six home-runs for Reno, in his 211 PA there, considering he had twice as many in almost the same PA (224) for the Cardinals in 2016. His value for Arizona in 2018 likely will depend on which one of those, Hazelbaker’s true power is closer to being. He’s probably worth having on the roster - for the first ten days, anyway...