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Red Sox minor league roundup: Sean Coyle’s power show; Jeremy Hazelbaker’s cooking

04.26.13 at 1:17 pm ET
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Second baseman Sean Coyle is off to a terrific start in Salem (Salem Red Sox)

A quick look at the action in the Red Sox minor league system on Thursday …

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 8-3 WIN, 4-0 LOSS AT BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)

(BOX GAME 1, BOX GAME 2)

– Outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker had an impressive all-around doubleheader, going 3-for-5 with a homer and two steals in the two contests. He’s hitting .313 with a .365 OBP, .597 slugging mark, five homers and four steals in 19 games thus far this year. He’s tied for fourth in the International League in homers.

Hazelbaker’s combination of raw speed and power remains compelling. He’s struggled to maintain performance consistency since being taken in the fourth round of the 2009 draft, alternately going through stretches in which he collects homers, extra-base hits and steals in bunches with periods in which he strikes out a ton and struggles to get on base.

That performance inconsistency (along with the fact that he’s probably limited to left field) explains why, despite a rare tool set, he was neither added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster last winter nor taken by any other team in the Rule 5 draft. Even so, if Hazelbaker can make strides in Triple-A after spending almost all of the last two years in Double-A, there’s an excellent chance he will position himself to make someone’s 40-man roster by the end of this year. His early performance in 2013 will no doubt ensure that he’s on the radar of scouts this season.

– Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, who is returning from Tommy John surgery, claimed his first win since 2011 by allowing three runs in five innings. He yielded six hits (including a pair of homers) while walking three and striking out four. Between Haeger and Steven Wright, any catchers who pass through Pawtucket this year will enjoy considerable comfort in catching the knuckleball.

– Right-hander Jose De La Torre tossed two hitless, scoreless innings in which he walked one and struck out two. He’s now tossed seven straight innings spanning four appearances without giving up a hit or a run. On the year, opponents are 4-for-40 against the 27-year-old, who has a 2.13 ERA, 13 strikeouts and (fly in the ointment) nine walks in 12 2/3 innings.

Jackie Bradley Jr. was 1-for-7 in the two games of the double header. He did flash his strong arm, cutting down speedy Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Gose at third base.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: OFF DAY

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 7-3 WIN VS. WILMINGTON (ROYALS)

(BOX)

– Given that second baseman Sean Coyle might not be taller than Dustin Pedroia, he generates somewhat startling power. The 21-year-old hit his second homer in as many days since returning from a week-long absence due to a jammed thumb, going 1-for-4 with his fifth homer of the year, a walk and a stolen base. Despite the fact that he has been limited to 11 games this year, he ranks third in the Carolina League in homers and first in slugging (.761) and OPS  (1.153). He continues to look like a player who will force his way up to Double-A at some point this year, perhaps early, given that he spent all of 2012 in Salem and enjoyed a considerable measure of success in the second half.

– Third baseman Garin Cecchini went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. He’s hitting .353 (fourth in the Carolina League) with a .450 OBP (third in the league) and .559 slugging mark (fifth) with eight extra-base hits (six doubles, two homers).

– Outfielder Keury De La Cruz, one day removed from a walkoff hit, drove in another pair of runs while going 2-for-4. Though hitting just .257 with a .728 OPS, he’s driven in 17 runs (tops in the Carolina League) in no small part thanks to his outrageous numbers with runners in scoring position. He’s hitting .393 with a 1.116 OPS with runners in scoring position, a reflection of the fact that he does  a better job of controlling his effort level in such situations. Of course, his early RBI totals are also a reflection of the fact that Cecchini and Coyle (as well as shortstop Deven Marrero before he landed on the DL) have been getting on base at tremendous clips.

– Right-hander Mike Augliera has the ability to work efficiently thanks to the ability to get groundballs in volume with an 88-92 mph sinker. The Binghamton product, drafted after his senior season last year, did just that on Thursday, working seven innings in which he permitted three runs (two earned) on seven hits (all singles) while punching out six, walking just one and getting a whopping 12 groundball outs.

– Right-hander Matt Price tossed a pair of hitless, scoreless innings. In 6 2/3 innings, he’s given up just three hits.

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 12-1 WIN VS. LAKEWOOD (PHILLIES)

(BOX)

– Left-hander Cody Kukuk continued to demonstrate that he represents more than just the foremost palindrome in the Red Sox system. In five innings of work, the athletic, 6-foot-4 20-year-old allowed one run on just one hit (a solo homer) while striking out two and walking two. In 17 1/3 innings, he’s given up just nine hits while striking out 14 and walking 11.

– Second baseman Mookie Betts went 0-for-1 with a career-high four walks and four runs. He also stole his third base in as many attempts. Though hitting just .155, he has a .315 OBP with twice as many walks (14) as strikeouts (7).

– Outfielder Aneury Tavarez went 1-for-4 with a triple and drove in three runs. Though he is hitting just .216 with a .627 OPS, he does show some pop, with half of his 16 hits this year going for extra bases.

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