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October 17, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Top 40 Season in Review: J.C. Linares, Jeremy Hazelbaker

#26: Juan Carlos Linares, OF
2012 Teams: Portland Sea Dogs/Pawtucket Red Sox
Final Stats: .316/.364/.510, 16 HR, 29 BB, 66 K


2012 Season in Review: Linares got back on track in 2012 after missing most of the 2011 season when he tore ligaments in his ankle in early May. Placed back in Double-A Portland, where he ended the 2010 season, Linares was one of the best hitters in the Eastern League despite playing through injury. The 27-year-old hit .333/.403/.538 for the Sea Dogs in 210 at-bats before his June 21 promotion to Pawtucket. He continued to show decent power in Triple-A, but walked only seven times in 202 at-bats, leading to a .297/.321/.480 line with the PawSox. Linares mostly played in the outfield corners, but he has shown the ability to play all three outfield positions when healthy.

2013 Outlook: Linares will not need to be added to the 40-man roster until after next season, so he will almost certainly open the 2013 season in Pawtucket. If he stays healthy and continues to produce, Linares could be a candidate to serve as an injury call-up in Boston when needed. He just turned 28 in September, so the 2013 season will be crucial for him to show he is ready if needed.


#25: Jeremy Hazelbaker, OF
2012 Teams: Portland Sea Dogs/Pawtucket Red Sox
Final Stats: .273/.335/.472, 19 HR, 35 BB, 122 K

2012 Prospect Preview
ESPNBoston: Brentz, Hazelbaker thrown into the fire

2012 Season in Review: Hazelbaker took a big step forward in 2012, despite starting the year off on the wrong foot. After opening the season in Double-A Portland, Hazelbaker hit .226 in April and .236 in May. He struck out in nearly 30 percent of his at-bats during that time, and it appeared he may need to spend the entire season figuring out Double-A after playing 90 games at the level in 2011. However, the light seemed to go on in June, and over his last three months in Double-A, he hit .295 with a .544 slugging percentage and 26 stolen bases. The Red Sox were impressed with his adjustments and promoted him to Pawtucket for the playoff run on August 27. He continued to show his impressive combination of power and speed, and finished the season with 19 home runs and 36 stolen bases. He did, however, post a 26 percent strikeout rate.

2013 Outlook: Hazelbaker is Rule 5 eligible this season, and it is far from certain whether the Red Sox will protect him by adding him to the 40-man roster. Of course, it is also far from certain that he would stick on a team’s 25-man roster. Either way, if he remains in the organization next year, Hazelbaker will  head back to Pawtucket to start the 2013 season, where he will try to earn his way into consideration for a major league call-up. He will play all three positions in the crowded Pawtucket outfield, and he will need to continue showing his unique power/speed combination and cut down on his strikeouts.

Photo Credit: Juan Carlos Linares and Jeremy Hazelbaker by Kelly O'Connor