Wladimir Balentien

39-Year-Old OutfielderOF
 Free Agent  Foreign
2024 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for Wladimir Balentien in 2024. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Traded to the Reds in July of 2009.
OFFree Agent  F
November 15, 2014
Balentien finished 2014 with 31 home runs, failing to lead his league in home runs for the first time in his four-year NPB career. Despite missing 32 games with injuries he still slashed .301/.419/.587.
Balentien has a long-term contract with the Yakult Swallows so it's unlikely we'll see him back in MLB during the prime of his career.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Balentien was looked at as a failed prospect in Seattle, and certainly his numbers there were awful. But arguably his irregular use there, a cumulative low sample size and a sprained ring finger that he played through while there in 2009 serve to mitigate his disappointing performance. Of course, his playing time in Cincinnati was also sporadic, as the Reds were sorting (and still are) through numerous left-field candidates. Nonetheless, his walk rate spiked back up to his minor league levels while with the Reds. He'll have to start fast to hold off prospect Chris Heisey. The Reds re-signing Jonny Gomes really hurt his chances of starting.
Balentien's promotion to the big league club last season proved what most feared: he can crush a fastball but is easily fooled by breaking pitches. Balentien struck out 79 times in 71 games in two stints in Seattle, drawing just 16 walks. He had 20 extra-base hits in that time, but his plate discipline continues to be an issue, and where he fits in the plans of the new front-office regime remains to be seen. Left field is open with Raul Ibanez out of the picture, but Balentien needs to hit to stay in the lineup, assuming the Mariners don't go another route altogether in the offseason.
Seattle's best prospect outside of Adam Jones, Balentien was named the Pacific Coast League rookie of the year last season after hitting .291 with 24 homers, 24 doubles and 84 RBI. He cut his strikeout rate from one in every 3.1 at-bats the previous two years to one every 4.5 at-bats last year. In his last three minor league seasons, Balentien averaged 28 doubles and 24 homers. Although a late-season callup netted him just three pinch-hit at-bats, he homered and doubled, driving in four runs. With Jones already slated for right field in 2008, general manager Bill Bavasi said he doesn't want to start the season with two youngsters in the outfield, which means Balentien is headed for Triple-A again. That's even if he's in the organization come April. The Mariners are in serious need of starting pitching, and Balentien is a prime trade chip.
No one doubts Balentien's muscle. He has some of the best raw power in the minors, hitting 22 homers and 23 doubles in 2006 to give him 47 homers and 61 doubles in the last two years. But he still has a problem with contact. After one strikeout every 3.0 AB at high-A Inland Empire in 2005, he whiffed once every 3.1 AB at Double-A San Antonio in 2006. Balentien shortened his swing to improve his contact rate, but it didn't seem to help as his average dropped to .230 last season. His batting eye improved, though, which is an encouraging sign. Balentien is only 22, so he still has time to figure it out as one of the organization's top 10 prospects.
Balentien has exceptional raw power (25 HR, .553 SLG at High-A Inland Empire), but his "swing from the heels" approach to hitting still worries scouts. His K-rate remains very high (160 strikeouts in 123 games last season), and doubts remain about his ability to handle breaking pitches and changeups against better pitchers. He kills fastballs, but still struggles against other stuff. Double-A will be the true test of his prospect status in 2006.
Balentien is the top power prospect in the Mariners system. He needs to cut down on his strikeouts, though, since he averages a strikeout every 3.3 at-bats. He's a player to keep an eye on as he works his way up the organizational ladder, but don't expect him in Seattle anytime soon.
More Fantasy News
OFFree Agent  F
September 15, 2013
Balentien hit two home runs Sunday (his 56th and 57th) to break the single-season Japanese home run record, the Kyodo news service reports.
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OFFree Agent  F
December 16, 2012
Balentien signed a four-year, $7.5 million contract extension with the Yakult Swallows, the Kyodo news service reports.
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OFFree Agent  F
October 7, 2011
Balentien is expected to get an offer to remain with Yakult for 2012, Nikkan Sports reports.
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OFFree Agent  F
June 20, 2011
Balentien got off to a blistering start in Japan. He's cooled off some, but he's still hitting .312/.401/.659 with 16 homers and 30 RBI.
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OFFree Agent  F
November 17, 2010
Balentien has signed with the Yakult Swallows of the Japanese Baseball League, NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman reports.
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