By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
Canadian right-handers Matt Brash (Kingston, Ont.) and Jordan Balazovic (Mississauga, Ont.) have cracked Baseball America’s list of the Top 100 MLB Prospects.
The updated list was unveiled on Wednesday.
Brash, 23, is No. 45 on the list. The 6-foot-1 righty went a combined 6-4 with a 2.31 ERA in 20 appearances (19 starts) between High-A and double-A in the Seattle Mariners’ organization this season. Most impressive, however, was his 142 strikeouts in 97 1/3 innings.
In 2021, the Kingston Thunder and Niagara University alum topped all Canadians in the affiliated minor league ranks in strikeouts and finished second in ERA and innings pitched. For his efforts, he was called up by the Mariners on September 28 during their push for a Wild Card spot, but he didn’t get into a game.
A fourth-round pick of the San Diego Padres in 2019, Brash was named the Canadian Baseball Network’s 2021 Wayne Norton Award winner, as the top Canuck pitcher in the affiliated minor league ranks. He was also named the Mariners’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
“Brash’s acquisition in 2020 didn’t make headlines,” reads part of Baseball America’s scouting report. “A year later, his slider sure did. The right-hander carved up hitters in High-A and Double-A and got called up to the big leagues (but didn’t pitch) to finish the season.
Balazovic, also 23, ranks 85th on Baseball America’s list. The 6-foot-5 right-hander spent 2021 with the Minnesota Twins’ double-A Wichita Wind Surge and posted a 5-4 record with a 3.62 ERA in 20 starts. He fanned 102 batters in 97 innings.
This performance came on the heels of his breakout 2019 campaign in which he registered a combined 8-5 record and a 2.69 ERA, while striking out 129 batters in 93 2/3 innings in 19 games between class-A and class-A Advanced in the Twins’ organization.
Selected by Twins veteran scout Walt Burrows (Brentwood Bay, B.C.) in the fifth round of the 2016 draft, the Ontario Blue Jays alum has pitched parts of five seasons in the Twins organization.
“Balazovic has the makings of a potential mid-rotation starter,” reads part of Baseball America’s scouting report. “There isn’t a knockout pitch in his arsenal, but he’s a strike-thrower with a mix of three pitches that all grade out average or better.
You can read Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list in its entirety here.
Two arms we should see in the big leagues in 2022. Must have been hard for Matt to get called up last year and not get into a game.
So much young talent for Canadian baseball. It’s so exciting!
Thanks for your comment and for reading, Scott.