Collin Balester Interview Part 2 of 2: Read Pt. 1 of the interview HERE.
Collin Balester is on Twitter, (@ballystar40), he used to write Bally's Blog at the Nationals' official site, and this past weekend he launched his own blog, CollinBalester.com. I've been following the Washington Nationals' 23-year-old right-hander's progression through the DC system since Montreal made the then-18-year-old pitcher out of Huntington Beach, California, the Expos' 2004 4th Round pick, so I was thrilled when he agreed to take part in the email interview which follows:
Federal Baseball (FB): MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported earlier this winter that the Nationals might consider moving you into a bullpen role, is that a move you'd welcome or do you think of yourself as a starter?
Collin Balester: "Yes. I have heard that many times and you can't really think about all that stuff right now. I view myself as a starter and I think that is where I have the most value to the Nats, but that being said, if they thought that I was going to be better in the pen and I had the opportunity to help out the team at the Big league level then I would be fine with that. But yes, I still think I'm a starter."
FB: I read in a recent chat that you were working on adding a slider to your repertoire? Why did you decide to add the slider? What are you throwing these days? Fastball, curve, change, slider? Anything else? I assume you still consider yourself predominantly a fastball pitcher?
Collin Balester: "Yes this year I have thought that throwing a slider might be a great idea, with my arm slot and the way I pitch, pitching coaches and players have told me that they think that would be a good pitch to learn. As of right now I have a fastball, curve, change, and 2-seam. Yes, I am a fastball pitcher and always will be, that's my best pitch, but this offseason I have been working on just controling the game and being able to call my own game. In years past I have had the catchers call my game and this year I feel like I have the confidence to call my own game and I have a better idea on how to stay in the Big leagues all year."
FB: In an interview with MLB.com's Bill Ladson, Elijah Dukes talked about having a big year, getting a big contract and being able to change his family's lifestyle. Knowing you got married this offseason has it changed your perspective about the game as a job?
Collin Balester: "No, never. I mean, yes, baseball is my 'job' but I would never think of it as a job, this is a game and I have a blast doing it. I want to have that same outlook if it's my rookie year or it's my contract year, you dont want to put added pressure on yourself to have big years for money and all that, I just want to have fun, compete and enjoy baseball for as long as I can play this game. I have had the same amount of fun since I was 5 playing tee ball as I am getting ready for this Spring so that's saying something."
FB: Two years back your Facebook videos brought you some notoriety, you wrote a blog at the Nationals' official site, now you're on Twitter, Facebook and you've launched your own blog, what are you hoping to do with the blog? Are you a shameless self-promoter or do you just enjoy being able to connect with fans in all the different ways that are available these days?
Collin Balester: "I don't do all these things to make myself look good at all. People might think that, but what I get out of my twitter and my new site Collinbalester.com is I just want to show the common fan what goes on with us players, I want to give them an inside look on how it is playing in the big leagues or playing baseball period. I mean, when I was a kid I would have loved to hear what went on with the Angels that I loved watching, This game is all about the fans and if I can reach out and let them in on my life to see that I'm a funny, and just a normal guy, and have some fun with it also then I feel like it makes it enjoyable for all of us."
FB: Are you glad you got your #40 back when Daniel Cabrera left the organization?
Collin Balester: "Yes, not glad that Cabrera left the organization but I am glad I got my first number back. It just feels right for me to wear that number and I want to keep it my whole career." (ed. note - "Sorry, I phrased that question poorly. I didn't mean to insult Cabrera, or set Mr. Balester up to do so...")
FB: Is there any one aspect of your game the Nationals have told you to focus on this offseason, or anything you've decided you need to improve?
Collin Balester: "You can always improve your game in some way or another. Like I said before, I have been working on this slider to help me be better, and also I have been working on the mental side and I feel that it's going to be a huge turn-around for me this year, just being focused on the task at hand and I know all the hard work I have done this offseason will show on the field..."