Our old buddy Wladimir Balentien is heading abroad:
Wladimir Balentien consistently crushed minor-league pitching at every level and hit .283/.351/.535 with 67 homers in 302 games at Triple-A, but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s now headed to Japan at age 24 after struggling in 559 plate appearances for the Mariners and Reds.
Balentien has tons of power, smacking 15 homers and 31 doubles in 511 at-bats even while struggling overall in the majors, but he hit just .221 with 149 strikeouts and a ghastly .281 on-base percentage while flailing away at off-speed stuff.
Flaws and all IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m still convinced that he could be a solid platoon player, starting against left-handed pitching as a backup corner outfielder, but instead of trying to work his way back to the majors by crushing more Triple-A pitching heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll take what is surely a higher salary for a chance to be a star in Japan.
I agree with every bit of that, and I don’t think Balentien got a fair shot in Cincinnati. That said, he didn’t exactly produce when called upon, and the big leagues are a tough business…but I would’ve enjoyed seeing a bigger window of opportunity for the big guy. He could have helped the team this year, and in the coming seasons.
Good luck, Wladimir.