The numbers seemed to overwhelm Jeremy Hazelbaker.
A .417 batting average (10 for 24), 2 doubles, 1 triple, 4 home runs, 8 RBIs, 10 runs, 7 stolen bases, 5 walks, and a 1.082 OPS.
They were compiled during a six-game stretch last week that earned Hazelbaker, a 24-year-old outfielder with Double A Portland, Eastern League Player of the Week honors.
“It was probably one of the best weeks I’ve had in pro ball yet,’’ said Hazelbaker, who is hitting .251 in his fourth year with the Sea Dogs, is tied for the team lead with 16 homers, and is second with 49 RBIs. “I was excited that I got to put that week together.
“That’s the first time that I’ve heard all the numbers. Just those numbers as a whole, honestly, just being able to put those together and the plate discipline I had in that stretch of games was the best that I’ve had in a while.”
Asked if he had any sense the week would turn out that way, Hazelbaker replied, “No, I didn’t. It was just another week to me. That’s what it was throughout the week. Game 3, Game 4, I wasn’t looking at numbers saying, ‘Hey, I’m having a good week.’ It was just game to game, at-bat to at-bat, trying to maintain my plan and trying to stick with it.’’
Hazelbaker is hitting .259 in 14 games since the All-Star break (after .249 in the first half), with seven home runs and 12 RBIs.
“I’d say I was a little overanxious at the plate for the majority of the season,’’ he said. “It’s been my goal to just relax up there and just take each pitch and really work on staying balanced up there and keeping my effort level down, and since really the All-Star break I’ve been doing a lot better job of that.’’
While plate discipline enabled him to reach in his first 11 plate appearances of the week, Hazelbaker also was able to showcase his blend of power and speed.
He went 3 for 4 with a pair of homers in a 12-0 win over Reading, marking his second multihomer game of the season, and had a season-high five RBIs. He capped the week by tying a franchise record with four steals.
“It’s just a sign that I haven’t lost my speed at all, I’m just picking my spots,’’ he said.
Hazelbaker’s impressive numbers had the potential to not only open some eyes within the organization, but also expose him as a potential trade chip.
“This time of season, trade deadline coming up, after those moves, people get promoted and stuff will happen,’’ he said. “For me, that’s something I don’t have any business thinking about. I can’t play mini-GM and think what if this or what if that. My job is to go out there and play, and that’s just what I have to keep doing.”
A year ago, Michael Almanzar looked lost at the plate for Single A Salem.
Signed as a undrafted free agent in 2007 at age 16 to a $1.5 million bonus out of the Dominican Republic, Almanzar appeared on the verge of becoming a bust. Until this season, in which he leads active Carolina League hitters with a .316 average.
Wednesday night in a 6-1 victory over Myrtle Beach, Almanzar, the 21-year-old son of former major league pitcher Carlos Almanzar, extended his streak of reaching base to 16 plate appearances.
“I don’t ever remember a streak like this,’’ Salem hitting coach Rich Gedman told MILB.com. “[Almanzar’s] approach to baseball has been outstanding.’’
Almanzar’s streak, which began last Saturday night, included 12 hits, 3 walks, and 1 hit by pitch.
Not to be outdone, righthander Keith Couch, a 2010 13th-round pick, on Wednesday threw the first nine-inning complete game in Salem history.
Going, going, gone
Pawtucket righthanders Brandon Duckworth and Doug Mathis were released from their contracts late Wednesday night and signed to play in Japan. Duckworth, 36, ranked among the International League leaders in ERA (eight, 3.17), wins (fourth, nine), and innings (11th, 110⅔). Mathis, 29, went 7-6 with a 4.07 ERA in 18 starts this season. This will mark his second professional stint in the Far East after pitching last year for the Samsung Lions in the Korean Baseball Organization . . . Lefthander Chris Hernandez, the Sox’ ninth pick in 2010, was the first member of his draft class to be promoted to Pawtucket to help fill the void left by the departures of Mathis and Duckworth. In 18 starts in Double A Portland, Hernandez went 4-8 with a 3.13 ERA, 60 strikeouts, and 36 walks over 103⅔ innings. He took a no-decision after going six innings in his first start for the PawSox Sunday, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks, including a home run, while striking out four.