Jeremy Philip Hazelbaker
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 200 lb.
- School Ball State University
- High School Wapahani High School
- Debut April 3, 2016
- Final Game October 1, 2017
- Born August 14, 1987 in Muncie, IN USA
Speedy outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker began his professional career in 2009. He reached Triple-A for the first time in 2012 and reached that level each season through 2015.
He was drafted in the 4th round of the 2009 amateur draft by the Boston Red Sox and played in their system until 2013. He eclipsed the 30-steal mark four times, with as many as 63 swipes in 2010 for the Greenville Drive. He made the South Atlantic League All-Star team in 2010. In addition to his speed, he has exhibited good pop, belting as many as 19 home runs in a season. He was a MiLB.com Organization All-Star in 2010 and 2011.
On October 25, 2013, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Alex Castellanos. He played for their system in 2014 and part of 2015 before being released in May. The St. Louis Cardinals signed him for the remainder of the season. He was a Mid-Season All-Star again in 2014 and 2015.
Hazelbaker was the first player to make his debut in the major leagues in 2016, when he pinch-hit for Adam Wainwright in the 7th inning of the first game of the season against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 3rd. In a tough assignment, he struck out against lefty Tony Watson. He did flash some power quickly, as he hit a pinch double against Mark Melancon for his first big league hit on April 5th, then his first major league homer off Juan Nicasio in his first start on April 6th. On April 8th, he homered again, this time as a pinch-hitter, against Matt Wisler of the Atlanta Braves as the Cardinals set a major league record with three pinch homers in the 7-4 win. Aledmys Diaz and Greg Garcia were the others who connected as pinch-hitters that day. In his first home game on April 11th, he went 4 for 4 with a double and a triple in a 10-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers and after two weeks in the majors, he was hitting .351. On September 12th, he led off the 9th inning of a game against the Chicago Cubs with his 12th homer, breaking up a bid for a no-hitter by Kyle Hendricks; the Cards still lost the game, 4-1, though. He finished the year at .235 in 114 games, with 12 homers and 28 RBIs.
The Cardinals placed him on waivers at the end of his rookie season, and he was claimed by the Arizona Diamondbacks on November 4th. In 2017, he played 42 games for the AAA Reno Aces, hitting .279, then batted a scorching .346 in 41 games with the D-Backs. That covered just 52 at-bats, however, as he was mainly used as a pinch-hitter. Somehow, Arizona wasn't impressed, and when he failed to make the team at the start of 2018, he was sold to the Tampa Bay Rays on April 10th, then was purchased by the Minnesota Twins on July 19th. He spent the entire season in the minors however, appearing for all three teams' AAA affiliate to bat a combined .204/.298/.385 in 98 games. He was now on the wrong side of 30 and no offers were forthcoming for 2019, so he tried his luck in the Korea Baseball Organization, with the KIA Tigers. In a hitters' league, he managed just a .146 average in 11 games and was soon released, finishing the season playing in the independent leagues, with the Sioux City Explorers of the American Association, where he hit .248 in 35 games.
- Bob Nightengale: "Jeremy Hazelbaker's big-league dream comes true with Cardinals", USA Today Sports, April 18, 2016.