The Nats made a trade this evening, exchanging fan favorite Collin Balester for RHP Ryan Perry. Balester was an active member of the community, seemingly always involved in some charitable event, and was mostly a favorite due to his very active Twitter account and his mustachioed appearance. Despite being shuttled back and forth from the Major League club to AAA, he managed to compile a 3.81 ERA and 62 K with 25 BB in 56 2/3 IP the last two seasons. He did not do a great job of keeping the ball on the ground, and gave up too many HRs (although not a ridiculous amount by any means). He has potential, but despite the Ks, he doesn’t have great stuff. He’s always relied more on his fastball, and it is good but not great. He was once considered one of the better prospects in the organization, but that was when the organization was barren – Balester was drafted in the 4th round of the Expos final draft in 2004. Turning 26 this coming June, he was no longer considered a potential starter, and was trying to find a spot in the rotation.
In exchange for @ballystar40, the Nats got a year younger with Ryan Perry. Perry was the Tigers first round pick in 2008 (21st overall) and that probably has something to do with his fastball, which reaches the high 90s. In his first year he struck out 60 batters in 61 2/3 IP, but the last two seasons, he’s only struck out 69 while walking 44 in 99 2/3 IP. Obviously control is an issue, and judging by at least one Tigers chat room, fans are sick of seeing him come in and not live up to his potential. That being said, he does reach almost 100 mph, and he also does a decent job of keeping the ball on the ground, and doesn’t give up many HRs.
Much of the talk about Perry is that he doesn’t seem to be, as Tigers manager Jim Leyland put it, “the same guy” every night. Detroit fans talked about his problem being his head, not his arm, and maybe this is all true. Maybe a change of scenery will do him good – it’s never a good thing to be a struggling first round pick for the team that drafted you. A fresh start might do him good. The Nats aren’t trying to “fix” a guy, they’re taking a chance on a talented young pitcher who has yet to put it all together. If he can, he’s a possible setup man. The Tigers were still talking about him as a potential closer a year ago. Then again, if he keeps walking guys, he won’t have much success no matter how hard he throws.