Former Big-Leaguer Balester Signs for 2017

Former Big-Leaguer Balester Signs for 2017

WICHITA, Kans. (April 19, 2017) – The Wichita Wingnuts added an arm with experience at the game’s highest level on Wednesday, signing former Major League pitcher Collin Balester for the 2017 season.

Balester last pitched in the majors with Cincinnati in 2015, posting a 1-1 record and 7.47 earned run average in 15 relief appearances for the Reds. The majority of the right-hander’s big league action came with the Washington Nationals from 2008-2011, where he worked in 62 combined games, going 5-16 with a 5.17 ERA. The 30-year old has spent time as both a starter and a reliever, with 149 starts and 222 relief outings over his 13 year-professional career.

Originally a fourth round draft pick of the Montréal Expos out of high school in 2004, Balester spent nine years in the Montréal/Washington organization, pitching at every level of the minor league system until he made his MLB debut on July 1, 2008. The Huntington Beach, Calif., native continued to operate as a starter through the 2009 campaign, before transitioning to the bullpen for his last two years with Washington. His best season in a Nationals uniform came in 2010, when he posted a 2.57 ERA and struck out 28 hitters in 21.0 innings.

Prior to the 2012 season, Balester was traded to the Detroit Tigers, where he went 2-0 in 11 games spanning 18.0 innings. Brief stops with the Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates followed, before Balester was shipped to Cincinnati in June of 2015. After an impressive stint at Triple-A Louisville, where he registered a 2.05 ERA and seven saves, the 6’4 righty was promoted to the Reds for the remainder of the 2015 season. Most recently, Balester pitched in South Korea, making three starts for the Samsung Lions of the Korea Baseball Organization last year.

Balester is the 20th player to sign with the Wingnuts for the upcoming season.  American Association clubs may carry up to 28 players during spring training, which opens on May 6.

2017 Wingnuts Signings
RHP Collin Balester
RHP Alex Boshers
RHP Austin Boyle
RHP James Campbell
OF Brent Clevlen
RHP Jordan Cooper
RHP Mike Devine
C Zac Fisher
RHP Seth Harvey
INF Shane Hoelscher
OF Harrison Kain
RHP Ryan Kussmaul
RHP Eddie Medina
C Martin Medina
IF/OF TJ Mittelstaedt
RHP Jesse Pratt
OF Richard Prigatano
LHP Nick Sabo
OF Brennen Salgado
INF Leo Vargas

The 10th season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 18 against the Laredo Lemurs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.

Photo Credit: Cincinnati Reds