Splitsville: Collin Balester v1.1

Balester dominated lefties.

"Splitsville" is a series of articles on the Nationals' prospects that we'll be doing throughout their minor league careers. In version one/chapter one (v1.1) of Collin Balester, we'll look at how he did against the right-handed hitters versus the lefties, how he pitched at home compared to on the road, and more.

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No Place Like Home: If there was a place that Collin Balester was comfortable pitching during the 2005 season, it was his home park, Grayson Stadium. Things just weren't the same for the hard throwing righty on the road, where he was 5-4 with an uncharacteristically inflated 4.64 ERA in 64 innings of work. Not to mention, he allowed 10 more walks on the road than he did at Grayson Stadium. In Savannah, Collin was far more impressive, compiling a 3-2 record to go along with a sparkling 2.64 ERA in 61 innings pitched. At home, he also held his opposition to a lowly .221 batting average. While he did hold his opponents to a .224 average while pitching on the road, his struggles away from Grayson Stadium are more than likely traceable to his control than anything else.

Struggled Down The Stretch: After bursting out of the gate early on in the season, the Huntington Beach native struggled mightily in the final two months of the season. And, once again, Balester was holding his opponents to a low batting average, but it did not show up in his earned run average. Despite holding opposing batters to a .216 batting average in July and .234 in August, he still only turned in ERA's of 4.50 and 4.95 respectively. A correlation between his walk totals and ERA can be seen in July, where the tall righty walked nearly four batters per nine innings, a statistic a bit out of character for him. However, the same relationship is not seen in August. The most logical and simple reason for the late season swoon of Collin Balester is just his workload. His 125 innings of work is obviously far more than he's ever pitched in the past.

Dominated Lefties: Although it is more typical for a righty pitcher that relies heavily on his fastball and curveball to be tougher on right-handed hitters, this wasn't the case for Collin Balester. In fact, he was significantly more effective facing left-handed batters. Holding them to a .186 batting average, while compiling a 2.77 ERA, Balester was simply lights out versus lefty hitters. And, the explanation for that is that Collin simply used his breaking ball to move down and in on lefties more than he used it against righties. On the other hand, he was far less effective facing righty hitters because of the fact he didn't use his breaking ball as much to combat them.

First Inning Woes: For a large percentage of power pitchers like Collin Balester, the first inning of a game can be a troublesome one. And, in this former 4th round pick's case, that couldn't be more true. As a matter of fact, the first frame is his most turbulent inning of all. As oppose to the miniscule batting averages he holds his opponents to in every other inning, hitters touch him up for a far more human .277 batting average in the first inning. Not to mention, in the 23 first innings he pitched in 2005, he compiled a rather unimpressive 5.48 ERA while surrendering 3 home runs and 9 walks, both the highest total he surrendered in any single inning.

An April To Remember: It would be difficult to have a stronger start than Collin Balester had in April of 2005. Jumping out of the gate with a 3-0 record in his first 4 appearances, the California native was as sharp as a tack. He also compiled an outstanding 1.61 ERA in 22.1 innings of work. Not to mention, he held his opponents to a miniscule .188 batting average.

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