Aug. 3, 2010; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Collin Balester against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Getting To Know Collin Balester....A Little

I apologize up front to our readers if the title of this article suggests an interview with Collin Balester. I did say a little, so I don’t feel like I’ve teased you all that much. I mean, how much can I possibly get to know him without talking to the man directly? Well, of course, the internet age is here to stay and it is a fountain of information. It’s a wonderful tool to have at one’s disposal when you want to research someone. Even if sometimes it can feel a little dirty typing that name into a search engine, I am certainly not above abusing Google for my needs. But I have my limits, and promise there was no Facebook stalking involved. I will leave that to the high school crowd.

My interest in Collin Balester isn’t some sort of perverse obsession of a jilted sports blogger who got turned down for an interview. I didn’t even ask. I am sure there are bloggers out like that out there, but at MCB we just don’t roll like that. I’m frankly just curious about the quality of player and person Detroit Tigers fans are getting. You see, as a prospect junkie, I have never had the pleasure to watch Balester pitch in the minor leagues, and haven’t seen him pitch in the majors either.

Strangely enough, there really isn’t a lot of video on him pitching on YouTube either.

So what did I find out about this mysterious man? Interestingly enough, Collin Balester acted as a correspondent for the American Mustache Institute. Well, correspondent might be a stretch. He essentially did a couple of interviews for the AMI, lending me to believe that he likes facial hair. In the first interview, Balester sports quite the flavor saver and plays the role of good sport while the interviewer does his little stand up comedy routine about the importance of his mustache in his baseball career.

The second part is much the same, however, Balester sports a beard in this interview. I don’t know why, but I hope this chaps the hide of the interviewer from AMI. It seems like maybe it does a little bit.

Despite the two interviews, I still feel like I don’t know Balester all that well yet. I do know he is married, and that he is tall. I wanted more. You know, like OMG how well does this dude pitch?  So I kept on searching.

Given that I haven’t seen Balester pitch, I had to rely on some random guys from some random sites to get an idea of what he throws. Here is what I can gather so far. Balester throws a fastball that ranges from 92-96, and thanks to the purveyor of delicious Pitch Fx information, Fangraphs, I can tell you that Balester averaged 93.9 mph on his fastball last season. Dang. That is pretty good.

Guess what? He throws a curve ball too. It appears that he has good separation velocity wise between the fastball and the curve, however, according to some folks out there, he struggles with command of the curve at times. I don’t know who to believe in internet land, so I just took a look at his BB/9 rate, and I can tell you, his command appears to be pretty average. Balester walks a little more than 3.5/9. Not ideal, but not like that Ryan Perry fellow he got traded for.

One important piece of information concerning Balester that I came across I found on MLive. In an article written by the excellent James Schmehl, David Dombrowski mentions he expects Balester to pitch his way onto the team. That is good news considering we traded a first round pick for Balester. I have a feeling he can do better than Ryan Perry, even with the limited information I have, and Balester was a 4th rounder. Good job Mr. Dombrowski, not so good job 2008 scouting department.

While I still yearn to learn a little bit more about Collin, I have to say, I don’t want to get saturated before I make a judgement for myself. I mean, I half expected the names of a bunch of British accounting firms to pop up when I put his name in the search engine box. I’m glad I didn’t get them, I’ve got no use for an accounting firm, particularly British ones.

It had been too long getting to know Mr. Balester since we acquired him, and I am glad that I have taken the time out to do so. Hopefully this will help all of you a little as well. Tall, mustached, and throws hard. What else do you need to know?



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Tags: Collin Balester Detroit Tigers Ryan Perry

  • garretkc

    That velocity sounds really good. Brooks Baseball says he averaged 94.8mph with it last year, which is almost the exact same average velocity they have for Justin Verlander of 2011. It appears their curves are really similar, too; Verlander’s breaks about 12% more and is only about half a mile an hour slower. I don’t mean to say they’re similar pitchers, of course (Verlander controls both pitches a bit better and has a slider and a change Balester doesn’t–oh, also a Cy Young and an MVP), but those specific pitches surprisingly seem good comparisons for each other. I can’t wait to see him for myself.


    A change of scenery was necessary for both Perry and Balester.
    Balester should be a very solid long man in the Tigers ‘pen. I also think Perry will put it together and succeed in Washington.

  • Tigerfanfl

    I have followed Balester since his years in AAA from 2007 on. His wicked curveball is his out pitch. On some of his outings last year he dominated in 2-3 innings and I thought the Nats left him out to dry 1 too many inns in those outings. He can go 3-4 innings in the games where he has his command down. He does a great job getting the first 2 outs in an inning then sometimes that 3rd batter gets on . If he can cut down on the walks he would be an awesome candidate as a spot starter as well. Can throw a change up as his 3rd pitch but hasn’t needed it as a reliever. Great pick up by DD! They have been after Bally for the last 2 years.