I want to give Collin Balester a nickname so badly, I can taste it. And not just any nickname – it needs to be a GOOD nickname.
Don’t ask me why this needs to happen. If you do, I won’t have a good answer for you. It’s just something about the name – Collin Balester – that screams, “Please bestow upon me a shortened name by which the masses may come to know and love me!”
Big Red? Unoriginal. Ballin’? Maybe. The Baler? So dumb I can’t even believe I just typed it. Radio? Possibly. The Last Expo? Has potential. None of the above? Likely.
Anyway…Balester, a member of the Montreal Expos’ last draft class prior to the big move to Washington and the 85th ranked player on Baseball America’s preseason prospect list, was named as the Nationals’ starter for Tuesday’s game against the Florida Marlins. He earned the trip to The Show over the last month, winning five consecutive decisions for AAA Columbus. Overall, he was 9-3 with a 4.00 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 78.2 innings.
Last season, Balester allowed 12 homeruns in 150.1 innings between AA Harrisburg and AAA Columbus; thus far in 2008, he has allowed 14 homeruns in 78.2 innings. I’m not sure if this is an area of concern or not – most of the longballs came in May (9 in 33 innings), so maybe it was an isolated issue that has since been corrected. Just thought I’d mention it in case the bug bites again at the major league level. He did have some problems of a mechanical nature back at the start of the 2006 season:
“I started out slow. I was trying to work on a couple of mechanical things. They were working out a little bit, but I was leaving the ball up a lot and kind of getting hit around the park,” he said. “Then I started to go back to how I was pitching before and I felt good, I got the right attitude. I went on a roll. The numbers didn’t show, but I felt that I worked hard and got through adversity.”
And while we’re quoting old articles to explain what Balester is all about, how about this one, from the same March 2007 piece as above.
“I have no fear. I will challenge anybody. I’m not afraid to fail. Failure is not a thing I’m scared of,” Balester said. “I will challenge a guy inside. I’m just not afraid. I pitch to contact. I’m not trying to strike out anybody. I’m trying to keep my pitch count low and go deep into the ballgame and help my team to win.”
Maybe my first thought for a nickname, which I didn’t even bother to include above, wasn’t so bad after all: The Balls (with all due respect to both Ron Burgundy and AJ Daulerio, of course).