After signing in January 2021 out of Venezuela, Leonardo Balcazar had to wait until mid-July when the Dominican Summer League began to kick off his professional career. The 17-year-old picked up a hit in his first game, going 1-5. The next day was a big one as the shortstop went 2-4 with a walk, double, steal, and his first career home run. Two days later he was back in the lineup and picked up two more hits and another steal. He went into a bit of a slump after that, going 1-12 with four walks over the next week.
On July 27th the offense came back just as quickly as it had disappeared. Over the next two weeks Balcazar would hit .350 with a double, triple, three more home runs, and he would add five stolen bases just to round things out. Another mini-slump was awaiting, though, as he went 6-26 (.231) over the next two weeks for the DSL Reds. In the final game of that stretch he was hit by a pitch and would miss the next month before returning for the final week of the season where he went 3-13 with a double, triple, and a walk.
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Leonardo Balcazar Scouting Report
Position: Shortstop | B/T: R/R
Height: 5′ 10″ | Weight: 167 lbs | Acquired: International FA (2021)
Born: June 17, 2004
Hitting | He has a good hit-tool with an ability to use the entire field already.
Power | There’s been mixed reports with anywhere from fringe-average to plus power potential down the line.
Speed | He’s got above-average speed.
Defense | The tools are there to be a quality defender that can remain at shortstop.
Arm | He has an above-average arm.
Prior to an injury that cost him the final month of the year, Leonardo Balcazar was among the best hitters on the DSL Reds team that featured several big performers. His average tumbled a bit in his final few weeks, but he showed a good approach at the plate and the power played well throughout the season. The range of his power potential was one of the more interesting pieces of information from the offseason as the range was quite large as to where he could wind up in the future. At just 17-years-old there’s usually some discrepancies in reports, but that one was a wide gap.
Defensively the tools are there to stick at shortstop long term. He is going to have to clean things up as he continues to climb the ladder, though, as he made 11 errors and posted an .894 fielding percentage in his 26 games between shortstop (149 innings) and second base (60.2 innings).
Anytime you are talking about a player that hasn’t made it out of complex leagues yet the risk is going to be quite high. It’s a very long path from the Dominican Summer League to the big leagues with a lot of places that things can hit a snag. But there does seem to be a bit of upside with Leonardo Balcazar, too, particularly if the scouts who believe he’s got plus power down the line are more correct than the ones who think he’s just a bit of a fringy-average power hitter in the future.
Leonardo Balcazar Spray Chart
Interesting Stat on Leonardo Balcazar
His OPS at home was just .618 but on the road it was 1.135.
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