Twins top pitching prospect Jordan Balazovic trying to find consistency with Saints
PUBLISHED: July 28, 2022 at 10:07 p.m. | UPDATED: July 28, 2022 at 11:23 p.m.
Categories:Minnesota Twins, MLB, Sports
Among those whose opinion actually matters, nothing Jordan Balazovic has done this season with the Saints has changed his status as the best pitching prospect in the Twins’ organization.
For everyone else, nothing the 23-year-old right-hander has done this season would suggest he’s destined to be a top-of-the-rotation starter for the Twins.
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Balazovic will make his 12th start for the Saints on Friday at CHS Field, eager to begin turning around a season that has been short on success and long on frustrating moments. After missing the first month of the season due to a left knee strain, he has gone 0-4 with an ERA of 10.41.
“I just haven’t been comfortable, haven’t been pitching like myself,” Balazovic said prior to the Saints’ 5-4 win over the Iowa Cubs Thursday night. “Not doing the little things: landing 0-0 breaking pitches. The execution hasn’t been there as much. I was working on my slider, so my fastball hasn’t been as good.
“I had to work on my fastball to get that back. It’s a bunch of things. It’s like a puzzle; every day it’s something new. I’m just trying to get back to me and back to being comfortable.”
Over the past month, Balazovic entered each of his four starts hoping that it would be the one that turned things around. He’s been on a pitch count, which limits how deep he is allowed to go into games, but he totaled only 7.1 innings in those four starts, while allowing 18 runs and 23 hits, including seven home runs.
“I’ve never pitched like this,” Balazovic said. “Last year (at Double-A Wichita) my numbers started to get worse in the second half because I was working on stuff. That’s kind of carried over to this season a little bit, but not to where it should be affecting me this bad.”
Balazovic said his splitter has been the pitch that has let him down the most. He hasn’t been able to throw it for strikes, and he’s kept it up in the zone too much, which has led to trouble. And loads of frustration.
“I’m trying to keep it positive going into games,” Balazovic said. “And I have been. But I haven’t been comfortable on the mound yet, and that’s what I’ve been waiting for. There’s been an inning or two when you see it. My last start, my last two innings were good — completely different than my first inning.
“I’ll show that one inning, but it hasn’t been consistent. I’m still hoping for that day, and I’m hoping that day is tomorrow.”
Balazovic said there have been positive signs during his recent bullpen work, and believes he is getting back on track. He said he’ll know when the first batter steps into the box on Friday if he’s climbed all the way out of the abyss.
“It’s a combination of having that confidence, mentality-wise, being able to execute those pitches, and what you say to yourself between those pitches,” he said. “And keeping it simple, which I haven’t been doing.
“Just get back to putting up zeros, getting guys out and keeping it simple.”
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