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.

22 Responses

    • Tom

      With so many other infield prospects to talk about he has gotten short shrift, I agree. Definitely has my attention now.

    • Doug Gray

      Some scouts aren’t as convinced about the hit/power as others. That combined with the strikeout rate and him having played in about 75 games in his career – all in rookie ball – keeps him in the 20’s in a very deep farm system. At least for me.

  1. Matt

    It gets mentioned everytime someone who is going to start 2023 there comes around on the prospect list, but that Daytona OD lineup is gonna be awesome.

    And Balcazar had a okay K% overall (~25%), but in August it dropped to ~15%.

  2. MBS

    He was one of the guys I enjoyed checking the box scores for last year. We really might have too many middle infielders ready for Daytona, I just don’t see how they all get the playing time they’ll need.

  3. Stock

    I was one of the first on the Balcazar bandwagon. Even though they weren’t $1+ signees I had both Balcazar (23) and Carlos Jorge (19) in my 2021 YE top 25. Jorge’s K% went up but his ISO was fantastic so he soared to #13 on my 2022 YE list. Balcazar saw a drop in his ISO (.154 in 2022). I am also starting to think he won’t stick at SS. He is now #21 in my ranking.

    2023 will be a big year for Balcazar and the Daytona 9. With Billings out of the picture the jump from AZ to full season ball is pretty large. I think Balcazar will be fine but I don’t see his ISO jumping back over .200. An ISO of .125-.150 is what I am expecting and I see him playing in Dayton either later this year or in 2024.

    • DaveCT

      Stock, his scouting report (and physical profile at 5’10, 190) remind me of those about the young Geno Suarez. I have nowhere near the aptitude to dive into stats, being prone to the 40,000 foot view and some part eyetest. But one impression I had of Balcazar was that gaining 20 pounds in his age 18 season might preclude to a move off of SS to 3B. Just some random thoughts

      • Stock

        Agree with you Dave. If he adds 20 pounds of muscle I see no problem with him bumping his ISO back over .200 when he progresses to Dayton.

  4. MBS

    @Doug, Just curious. Why do you use words like average, above average, plus, plus plus instead of the 20 – 80 system? Also would you say 50 is your average, or like 40, or 45 as your average?

    • Doug Gray

      Generally speaking, saying average instead of 50 is something more people will understand. 50 is average. 40 is below average. 45 is what I would call fringe-average. 70 is plus-plus. 80 is something that I will just say 80 on. With the exception of speed, which is more based on times than the true distribution of skills, there are only 2-3 guys with true 80’s in any given category in the entirety of baseball.

      • Doug Gray

        It’s the 20-80 scale, and it was a Branch Rickey thing. There’s not exactly a “for sure” determination as to whether it’s scaled to the scientific models of distribution, but it probably is because it lines up in a way that is pretty identical.

  5. Old Big Ed

    With the caveat that swings almost always look great for home runs, Carlos Jorge and Balcazar have very sweet and simple swings. They were 4th and 9th in the Arizona Complex League in OPS.

    Everybody connected with the Reds international scouting and signings over the past 4-5 years deserves a handsome bonus.

  6. 2020ball

    Lol, exactly what ive come to expect from this terrible ownership group.