Leonardo Balcazar signed as an international free agent in January of 2021. Later that year he headed to the Dominican Summer League where in 29 games he posted an .882 OPS while spending time at both shortstop and second base.
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When the 2022 season was ready to begin the Cincinnati Reds assigned Balcazar, who was still 17 for the first two weeks of the season, to the Arizona Complex League Reds. He began the year on fire, hitting .364/.463/.636 with four home runs in June’s 15 games.
Things would slow down in July, but that’s more so due to just how hot he had been the month prior. After ending June on a 3-game hitting streak, Balcazar extended it to 10 games with a 1-4 effort on July 12th. Over the following week he would go 1-13, but he bounced out of the slump on the 22nd and went 9-25 (.360) over the next seven games. He and the rest of the ACL Reds then didn’t play for a week before returning to action. In the final two-and-a-half weeks of the season he would hit .333 with two doubles and seven stolen bases in 10 games.
For all 2022 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Leonardo Balcazar Scouting Report
Position: Shortstop | B/T: R/R
Height: 5′ 10″ | Weight: 190 lbs | Acquired: International Free Agent (2021)
Born: June 17, 2004
Hitting | He has an average hit tool.
Power | He has average to above-average raw power.
Speed | He has above-average speed.
Defense | The tools are there to remain at shortstop long term.
Arm | He shows an above-average arm.
At the plate he had a strong first season in the US in 2022. He won’t turn 19 until the middle of next season and he’s coming off of a year where he hit .322, showed off solid in-game power, and went 13-for-14 in stolen base attempts.
Balcazar, as you would expect, got bigger and stronger from 2021 to 2022 but he was able to maintain his athleticism while adding on 20+ pounds. That helped him take a step forward at the plate last season. While the sample size was small in 2022, Balcazar showed extra-base power to all fields, though his home run power did remain to the pull side. While his walk rate was good and his strikeout rate was fine as he moves up the ladder and faces better pitching he will need to continue to improve his plate discipline. There are still some wide-ranging opinions on just how much power he will ultimately hit for, though the most frequent reply I got was that he’d wind up with average power down the line.
Defensively all of the tools are there, but the consistency isn’t there yet. At shortstop he played in 31 games and made 12 errors in 2022, giving him an .886 fielding percentage. That is essentially what it was in 2021 (.881). He made eight throwing errors and five fielding errors on the year (plus a playoff game), so there’s not one particular aspect that is leading to the defensive miscues.
One of the younger players the Reds had in Arizona, there’s a long ways between Goodyear and Cincinnati. Balcazar has plenty of development to go, but he’s also at an age where there’s no reason to worry about his development not happening, either. If things go right, he’s a good defensive shortstop with speed and a little bit of pop in his bat.
Leonardo Balcazar Spray Chart
Interesting Stat on Leonardo Balcazar
The sample size is extremely limited, but Leonardo Balcazar has hit a comical .457/.487/.971 against left-handed pitching in his career. He’s 16-35 with 3 doubles, 3 triples, and 3 home runs while walking 3 times and striking out 9 times in 39 plate appearances.