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?