Hazelbaker Starting To Show Signs

In his second year at the Double-A level, speedy outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker is finding his rhythm with the game and reaping the benefits. The Ball State product has hit five home-runs in June, including a game-winner at Hadlock in Portland on the 8th and a multi-homer effort on the 19th. He has also bumped up his average, posting his highest monthly average of the season thus far in June.

He's batting .235 on the season, third on the team with nine home-runs, and fifth on the team with 27 RBIs.

"My tempo level's been a lot better later," Hazelbaker said. "I've done some early work with the hitting coach Joppie. We've worked on some things and I'm just really getting to trust my hands and trust my swing.

"That's the key for me, just letting my hands work and not trying too much. It's proven to work and it's paid off."

He has utilized patience and timing to build this most recent streak. He and hitting coach, Dave Joppie, have been working together to form a routine that will set him up for success.

"It's been just sticking with my plan and just having the confidence in that. Going from at-bat to at-bat I've been trying to stick to my plan and if you have to make adjustments then only make minor adjustments," he said.

Manager Kevin Boles likes what he sees out of his outfielder recently.

"The thing he's done well is manage the strike zone and he shows great plate discipline," Boles said. "We've always liked the fast-twitch body. He's a guy that has a lot of ability. He was competitive here last year, now it's time for another repeat."

At the plate his game has come alive and he is aiming for the same success on the base paths, one year removed from a team leading 35 stolen bases. He currently has 13 on the year and is hungry for more.

"He's staying aggressive on the base baths," Boles added. "It's a challenge. This is a level that's a little bit different than Salem and Greeneville but we want him to stay aggressive. Now the offensive numbers are starting to rise and we're starting to see a pick-up. I'm sure those numbers will continue to improve."

Teams have been anticipating and making game-plans to stop Hazelbaker's speed all year. This is something he's getting used to and learning from everyday.

"I've been more selective of my spots," Hazelbaker said. "Last year and the year before that, whenever I got on I was going to run. But not I've been trying to pick my spots and just making sure it's the right situation to steal rather than just get on and going on the first pitch."

He is becoming a student of the game and every one of its aspects.

"Now I'm just making sure that I'm in the right situation with the inning, with the, count, and with the pitcher," Hazelbaker added.

Normally batting first in the batting order, Boles has made some adjustments to his lineup but nothing has shaken Hazelbaker from his focused approach to the game.

"He did a nice job for us in the lead-off spot. He showcases everything. He's a guy that does a lot of things well," Boles said. "He plays quality defense, he's got arm strength, he's a plus runner and manages his at-bats well. We love his ability and now he's starting to show the signs in games and its been really impressive."


Diehard Magazine Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nHe's batting .235 on the season, third on the team with nine home-runs, and fifth on the team with 27 RBIs.
\r\n
\r\n\"My tempo level's been a lot better later,\" Hazelbaker said. \"I've done some early work with the hitting coach Joppie. We've worked on some things and I'm just really getting to trust my hands and trust my swing.
\r\n
\r\n\"That's the key for me, just letting my hands work and not trying too much. It's proven to work and it's paid off.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe has utilized patience and timing to build this most recent streak. He and hitting coach, Dave Joppie, have been working together to form a routine that will set him up for success.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's been just sticking with my plan and just having the confidence in that. Going from at-bat to at-bat I've been trying to stick to my plan and if you have to make adjustments then only make minor adjustments,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\nManager Kevin Boles likes what he sees out of his outfielder recently.
\r\n
\r\n\"The thing he's done well is manage the strike zone and he shows great plate discipline,\" Boles said. \"We've always liked the fast-twitch body. He's a guy that has a lot of ability. He was competitive here last year, now it's time for another repeat.\"
\r\n
\r\nAt the plate his game has come alive and he is aiming for the same success on the base paths, one year removed from a team leading 35 stolen bases. He currently has 13 on the year and is hungry for more.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's staying aggressive on the base baths,\" Boles added. \"It's a challenge. This is a level that's a little bit different than Salem and Greeneville but we want him to stay aggressive. Now the offensive numbers are starting to rise and we're starting to see a pick-up. I'm sure those numbers will continue to improve.\"
\r\n
\r\nTeams have been anticipating and making game-plans to stop Hazelbaker's speed all year. This is something he's getting used to and learning from everyday.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've been more selective of my spots,\" Hazelbaker said. \"Last year and the year before that, whenever I got on I was going to run. But not I've been trying to pick my spots and just making sure it's the right situation to steal rather than just get on and going on the first pitch.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe is becoming a student of the game and every one of its aspects.
\r\n
\r\n\"Now I'm just making sure that I'm in the right situation with the inning, with the, count, and with the pitcher,\" Hazelbaker added.
\r\n
\r\nNormally batting first in the batting order, Boles has made some adjustments to his lineup but nothing has shaken Hazelbaker from his focused approach to the game.
\r\n
\r\n\"He did a nice job for us in the lead-off spot. He showcases everything. He's a guy that does a lot of things well,\" Boles said. \"He plays quality defense, he's got arm strength, he's a plus runner and manages his at-bats well. We love his ability and now he's starting to show the signs in games and its been really impressive.\"
\r\n
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