"Splitsville" is a series of articles on the Nationals' prospects that we'll be doing throughout…
Self-Analysis v1.1: Collin Balester
Velocity. Average - 91-94 MPH, Peaks - 96 MPH
Movement. "My fastball is anywhere from 91-94 MPH, getting up to 95-96 MPH and it has some tailing action on it. That's what the catchers say, so it definitely has some movement."
Notes. A true power arm no matter how you look at it, Balester has learned very quickly that his electric fastball is not enough to beat professional hitters. In fact, it seems as if he never went through an adjustment period. He can locate his fastball with pinpoint precision in every quadrant of the strike zone, setting up his breaking ball extremely well. A power fastball is one thing to have, but the way Colin locates his fastball is what makes him so successful.
Velocity. 74-77 MPH
Movement. "My breaking ball is usually about 74-77 MPH and I think it has 1 to 7 o'clock movement."
"I like throwing that pitch to lefties more because it sinks into them and I feel that I can get a lot more groundballs from lefties with it. And, now I have started throwing it more to righties. I don't know why I didn't so much before because I would think that I would use it more to righties because it goes away from them."
Notes. Armed with a plus breaking ball, Balester is a strikeout pitcher without really having to try. He can locate his curveball almost as well as his fastball, and it has become an outstanding one-two punch for the young right-hander. If he keeps it low in the strike zone, it will be a plus pitch throughout his career.
Velocity. 80-86 MPH
Movement. "My changeup is too fast. It is about 80-86 MPH, but I need to get that around 76-78 MPH. I used that pitch a lot from the middle to the end of the season and I feel good throwing that pitch now more to lefties but I can throw it to both."
Notes. Like many pitchers at his age, Collin's changeup is still slightly behind his other pitches. However, like he mentions above, he is slowly getting a better feel for it and will likely develop a greater differential in the coming years.
Control. "I would say I have good control with all my pitches. I mean 42 walks in 125 innings is pretty good."
Holding Base Runners. "I pitch the same from the windup and the stretch and I think I have an above average pick off move to go with that."
Fielding. "As for fielding my position, I think I am a good athlete. You know, us pitchers don't get enough credit. You should see us in batting practice before every game. We are good athletes."
Competitiveness/Intelligence. "As for the thinking part of the game, I think that's why I have come this far in the game. I also think I will continue to get better and better because I don't think too much on the mound. As for like stressing out and stuff, I don't do too much of that, but I think enough to know what I am doing and what I need to do in certain situations. So, I think I'm more of a guy that is driven by emotion and fire."
Pitch Count Management. "High pitch count with me isn't a problem. I work fast and try to get ground balls. I don't care too much about strikeouts. I mean, you're going to get them either way you pitch. But, I tend to try and get fast outs and get a complete game just about every five days."
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