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Twins Daily 2021 Top Prospects: #6 RHP Jordan Balazovic


An argument can be made that Jordan Balazovic is the best pitching prospect in the Twins organization even though he doesn’t rank as the top pitcher on the Twins Daily list. So, what’s changed with Balazovic over the last year?Position: RHP

Age: 22 (DOB: 9-17-1998)

2019 Stats (Low-A/High-A): 93.2 IP, 2.69 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 12.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9

ETA: 2022

2020 Ranking: 5

2019 Ranking: NA

 

National Top 100 Rankings

BA: NR | MLB: 97 | ATH: 63 |BP: NR

 

What’s To Like

Canada hasn’t exactly been a hotbed of MLB pitching talent, but Balazovic looks to buck that trend in the years to come. Last year, he was added to the organization’s alternate site in St. Paul before ending the year in the team’s instructional league. By season’s end, he was added to Minnesota’s 40-man roster and that leaves him even closer to making his big-league debut even though he has yet to make an appearance above the High-A level.

 

One positive to come out of last year’s pandemic was Balazovic was able to concentrate on adding weight to his lanky frame. When Minnesota selected him in the fifth round, he was a long and lean 17-year-old that was listed at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds. Since then, he has added two inches in height and bulked up to 217 pounds. This has helped his fastball move from the high-80s into the mid-90s.

 

Many scouting reports praise him for his pitching deception as hitters can’t pick up the ball well out of his hand. Typically, he uses his fastball at the top of the zone, and it has helped him to post SO/9 totals north of 11.0 over the last two seasons. He throws strikes and he has four pitches that he isn’t afraid to throw in any situation, which make him a very projectable big-league arm.

 

What’s Left To Work On

Like many budding pitching prospects, Balazovic continues to refine his secondary pitches. His change-up is the biggest work in progress, but he has made significant strides since joining the organization and it has a chance to be an above average pitch. This pitch will help him to attack left-handed hitters, but he might already be able to do that since lefties only hit .189/.232/.269 against him in 2019.

 

Currently, his slider is his out pitch although he uses his curveball to get strikes as well. He has yet to pitch over 100 innings in any professional season, so that will be an important milestone for 2021. His violent delivery helps to add some deception, but this can also be a concern. Some pitchers with violent deliveries suffer from health or control issues, but neither of these have been a concern so far in Balazovic’s career (knock on wood).

 

What’s Next

Last season, Balazovic worked hard to make sure he got invited to the alternate site before the season ended. This allowed the coaching staff to work closely with him and for the front office to get a better idea of how ready he was to take the next step. As mentioned last week, he is good friends with Blayne Enlow, another Twins top pitching prospect, and they keep pushing each other up the organizational ladder.

 

How aggressive will the Twins be with Balazovic this season? It seems most likely that he would spend the majority of the season at Double-A with an outside chance of appearing with St. Paul before the season is complete. Last winter, president of baseball operation Derek Falvey said that he expected Balazovic and Jhoan Duran to make their MLB debuts. It didn’t happen in 2020, so the time might be right in 2021.

 

Do you think Balazovic should be the Twins top pitching prospect? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

 

Twins Daily 2021 Top 20 Prospects

Honorable Mentions

20. Bailey Ober, RHP

19. Jose Miranda, INF

18. Alerick Soularie, OF

17. Ben Rortvedt, C

16. Edwar Colina, RHP

15. Cole Sands, RHP

14. Misael Urbina, OF

13. Matt Wallner, OF

12. Brent Rooker, OF/1B

11. Gilberto Celestino, OF

10. Blayne Enlow, RHP

9. Matt Canterino, RHP

8. Aaron Sabato, 1B

7. Keoni Cavaco, SS

6. Jordan Balazovic, RHP

 

Stop by tomorrow for prospect #5!

 

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I'm a little surprised that Jeffers is ranked ahead of him, but I guess that when it comes to prospects, it's all in the eye of the beholder.

 

I'm really excited to see Balazovic reach the majors. Personally, he seems to be the most likely Twins' pitching prospect to stay a starter in the bigs. I hope that it all works out for him.

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Sometimes, having a sub-par major league roster is a boon for prospects like Balazovic, or Larnach. They are able to come up young and learn on the job. Early results are often ugly, but in the end, thiose hard knocks pay long term dividends.

 

Look at guy like Radke: came up at 22, got slugged around his first 2 seasons, but not horribly. Finished 3rd for Cy his 3rd year.

 

Not that I want to back to losing baseball, far from it, but it has to be rough for near-ready prospects to bide their time.

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The Kluber, Clevinger, Bieber, Civale, Plutko, Plesac, McKenzie train is getting old. (I probably forgot someone)

 

C'mon Twins, time for a new Balazovic, Duran, Ober, Canterino, Enlow, Sands, Winder line.  All the one 'n' done's in the rotation this year present the perfect opportunity for a segue.

 

 

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Sometimes, having a sub-par major league roster is a boon for prospects like Balazovic, or Larnach. They are able to come up young and learn on the job. Early results are often ugly, but in the end, thiose hard knocks pay long term dividends.

 

Look at guy like Radke: came up at 22, got slugged around his first 2 seasons, but not horribly. Finished 3rd for Cy his 3rd year.

 

Not that I want to back to losing baseball, far from it, but it has to be rough for near-ready prospects to bide their time.

I feel that in this case it's tougher on the positional prospects then the pitching ones.  All these prospects are going to require injuries to occur to get called up.

 

Take Larnach for example.  He can only really get called up if there are injuries to Corner OFer's.  Sabato for 1B and DH's.  The pitchers have a greater probability of getting called up through out the season.

 

That's not even counting doubleheaders and the such where an extra pitcher can get called up!

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I am big on this kid.  He seems to be that under the radar guy that Faleve seems to be known for identifying.  How many under the radar guys was he credited for helping draft or trade for in Cleveland?  I am not saying he will be future Cy Young winner, but have high hopes for him.

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If his stuff is better than Dobnak and Shoemaker, get him up to big leagues.

 

First, I’m not as high on this pitching staff as some. Im comfortable with the 1-3, but if you can add an electric arm to the back end during the regular season, that’s massive. A guy like Dobnak shouldn’t be blocking anyone (before you throw stats at me, apparently the FO doesn’t think all that highly of him either - they never seem to want to commit to him as a fixture in the rotation).

 

Also, if they’re going to keep pulling stunts like yanking the Cy Young runner up while he’s cruising after 5 in a playoff game, I’d rather see a guy like Balazovic, who can pitch multiple innings with high-ish end stuff vs. the 4th or 5th option from a fairly shallow bullpen.

 

In order to feel good about him being used in that role, you have to get him major league innings during the regular season. Don’t pull the same shortsighted roster management that was done with Kirilloff for the sake of milking service time.

 

Once a pitcher gets to a certain level in terms of ability, I don’t see the sense in burning up their arm in the minors. Get him up, use him in some way, keep him stretched out with bullpens and live batting practice, and let the top-notch pitching coaches here round him into form. Blowing away the same 20 year olds and journeyman in AA isn’t helping anyone a significant amount. Do not play the service time game with top pitching prospects.

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Darius wrote a comment I really like and stole much of what I would say.  So I will just second his post and say that they need to get him up and use him during the year.  I want him in front of the Dobnak, Thorpe, Smeltzer trio.  And Duran will bypass them too.  2021 - Berrios, Maeda, Balazovic, Duran and ???? I look forward to it. 

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I'm really enthusiastic about balazovic and would be tempted to push him higher. I really think he could be a serious horse in the rotation. (I've also made it a goal to consistently pronounce his name right before the end of the season, gah)

 

I'm really glad he was working in saint Paul last year, but it's a real shame he didn't get to face regular competition in minor league ball. But I think he could see Target Field in 2021.

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If his stuff is better than Dobnak and Shoemaker, get him up to big leagues.

Once a pitcher gets to a certain level in terms of ability, I don’t see the sense in burning up their arm in the minors. Get him up, use him in some way, keep him stretched out with bullpens and live batting practice, and let the top-notch pitching coaches here round him into form. Blowing away the same 20 year olds and journeyman in AA isn’t helping anyone a significant amount. Do not play the service time game with top pitching prospects.

He's pitched a single game at AA... Usually the jump between A+ to AA is considering the biggest in the minors, so I would think he needs to spend some substantial time there before getting a crack at the big leagues. If you did call him up, I'd expect to see what Berrios/Gibson/May did in their first stretch of starters - not because he's a bad pitcher, but because he simply isn't ready yet. 

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