Long-awaited Major League Baseball debut finally comes for Mississauga pitcher
Published June 19, 2023 at 3:21 pm
Jordan Balazovic’s Major League Baseball debut was supposed to have come long before now.
The 24-year-old Mississauga native, selected by the Minnesota Twins in the fifth round of the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft, has experienced a roller coaster number of years in the Twins’ minor league system.
At times, the burly right-handed pitcher has been regarded as among the MLB club’s top handful of prospects, destined for a bright future in the big leagues.
Other times, the St. Martin Secondary School grad has nearly fallen off the Twins’ prospect radar completely and it was no longer a done deal that he’d one day make the majors, let alone star at professional baseball’s highest level.
In short, Balazovic’s MLB debut was delayed the past couple of seasons by a combination of injuries and poor performance on the mound.
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound hurler seems to have righted the ship, though, after a tough start to the 2023 season when he was temporarily shelved because of an off-field spring training altercation on Feb. 11 in Fort Myers, Florida that left him with a broken jaw.
All that must have seemed a distant memory for Balazovic when he strolled to an MLB mound for the first time on Sunday afternoon (June 18), Father’s Day, in Minneapolis in a game against the visiting Detroit Tigers.
— Baseball Canada 🇨🇦⚾️ (@baseballcanada) June 18, 2023
The Twins’ No. 20 prospect, a significant drop from his days in the organization’s top five, entered the contest in the fifth inning in relief of starter Louie Varland to make his big league debut.
Inheriting runners on first and second base, with one out, Balazovic gave up a quick RBI single before then retiring the final two hitters in the inning.
In total, he pitched a strong 3 2/3 relief innings in the Twins’ 6-4 loss, giving up two hits, a walk and charged with no runs. He struck out two batters.
The Mississauga product, born and raised, told mlb.com after the game that the experience “still hasn’t sunk in,” but that he “couldn’t be happier.”
Once the top pitching prospect in the Twins’ organization and a top 100 prospect in all of baseball according to some industry experts, Balazovic hopes he’s now in the majors to stay.
In advance of the 2022 season, Balazovic was placed on the 7-day injured list at Triple-A St. Paul (Twins’ minor league affiliate) with a left knee strain.
That injury set him back a bit, and when he did return to his minor league club in May 2022, the on-field results from that point on were less than flattering.
He struggled with his control and home run rate, and his 7.39 ERA in 22 appearances (21 starts) with St. Paul was troubling.
However, in his final five starts last September, Balazovic recorded an encouraging 3.43 ERA and struck out 30 batters in 21 innings.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising