Player: Alex Balog
Drafted by: Colorado Rockies (No. 70 Overall)
DOB: 7/16/1992 (Age: 20)
Height/Weight: 6’6”, 225 lbs
School: University of San Francisco
Previously Drafted: N/A
After going undrafted out of high school, Alex Balog followed in his brother Nik’s footsteps by attending the University of San Francisco.
When he arrived on campus, Balog was viewed as both a right-handed pitcher and first baseman. During his freshman campaign in 2011, the right-hander saw significantly more time on the mound than at the plate. Appearing in 16 games, including three starts, he registered a 6.23 ERA with 22 hits allowed and 5/9 K/BB in 17.1 innings.
Converted to a full-time pitcher for the 2012 season, Balog showed across-the-board improvement as a sophomore with improved velocity, crisper stuff and a legitimate feel for pitching. As a result, he posted a 3.43 ERA with 62 hits allowed and 57/31 K/BB in 78.2 innings.
Serving as the Dons’ Saturday starter this spring, Balog emerged as one of the more underrated college pitchers in the country and quietly moved up the draft board.
However, although he took a step forward in terms of his overall development, the right-hander’s performance was somewhat disappointing. Making 14 starts, Balog registered a respectable 3.63 ERA with 67/33 K/BB in 91.7 innings.
At the same time, he was touched up too often with 94 hits allowed during that span and missed fewer bats than his stuff suggests.
Despite his up-and-down junior season, Balog still exhibited enough upside to have his name thrown in the Day 1 draft discussion. It was doubtful that he’d be selected in the first round, and the right-hander was off the board by in the supplemental second round.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and the projected score second.
Large, durable frame at 6’6”, 225 pounds; athletic delivery; high leg kick and hip turn allows him to get weight to his back side; good use of lower half with consistent foot strike; front side stays on line with target; smooth, effortless arm action; natural deception thanks to long arms and high leg kick; gets extension toward the plate.
Has shown more consistent velocity this season; will sit 91-94 mph and hold it deep into games; solid plane and arm slot creates steady sinking action; flattens out when left up in the zone; allows him to have been as high as 95-96 mph this spring; doesn’t shy away from attacking hitters’ hands; could conceivably add a few more ticks.
Noticeably improved this spring; gets on top of the pitch more consistently; flashes above-average potential in 78-80 mph range; excellent shape with downer action; impressive feel and comfortable throwing it for a strike.
Best secondary offering in the low-80s; has been more consistent than the curveball; thrown with tight rotation and tilt; potential out-pitch at the next level; late, sharp break; plus potential.
Seldom used offering that lags behind rest of arsenal; will throw a few of them in a given start; registers in 78-80 mph range; hasn’t developed a feel for the pitch; potential average offering that could give him a fourth weapon.
Good athlete who entered 2013 season in best shape of his career; has long limbs but still exhibits impressive body control; smoothness and consistency of delivery help him pound the zone with four pitches; tends to miss up in the zone when he’s off his game.
Impressive combination of stuff and pitchability; already shows average command of deep, four-pitch mix; has improved feel for keeping the breaking balls separate; curve and slider each have their own distinct shape and pace; doesn’t get around the pitch as often as he did in 2012; advanced command of fastball throughout the zone; understands how to change eye levels and sequence pitches; overall command stands to improve against professional hitters.
MLB Player Comparison: Matt Cain
Projection: No. 3 starter
MLB ETA: 2016
Chances of Signing: 80%