MASN Sports' Ben Goessling noticed a disturbing trend for young Collin Balester in his first two appearances as a reliever for the Nationals. Specifically, he cannot seem to stop hitting people in the head.
In his first big-league game as a reliever, which came nine days ago in Milwaukee, Collin Balester caused a harrowing moment when he drilled Rickie Weeks in the head with a fastball. It happened again on Tuesday night.
Balester, trying to pitch inside against Mark Reynolds, hit the third baseman in the head with a 95-mph fastball in the sixth inning, causing Reynolds to leave the game after being examined by the Diamondbacks' trainers for several minutes.
Two appearances, two heads. The Nationals have themselves a head-hunter here!
Its not surprising to anyone that has followed the Nationals the last three seasons that Balester has control issues. In two years as a starter for the team, he's had many problems keeping the ball down and that contributed to his 22 home runs given up in 22 games started.
Turning Balester into a reliever might be adding a few more mph to his heater, but it seems to be doing nothing to keep his pitches down. In fact, it might even be making him more wild if you look at his last two appearances as an entirely way too small sample size.
Balester, while an entertaining and engaging personality, might have control issues that are too much to overcome. Its tough to believe, at this point in his career, that he is ready for the majors.