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Oops! All Astros: Ricardo Balogh

Ricardo Balogh drove his OPS up by 150 points in his age-19 season.

We’re reviewing every player to appear with the Astros organization in 2022.

Ricardo Balogh is a six-foot-three, 175 lb. infielder from Santo Domingo, DR. Born on July 9, 2002, Balogh signed with the Astros on his 16th birthday, July 9, 2018. He made his professional debut in 2019, hitting .186 with a .317 OBP through 47 games. Notably, he racked up an ISO of .000 in 126 plate appearances, something that I thought beared mentioning because I’ve never seen anything like it. Still, 15 walks during that stretch is a BB-rate good enough to notice, around 12 percent.

In 2021, Balogh made the jump to the stateside FCL Astros, also a rookie-level affiliate. He hit .185/.235/.274 with a pair of home runs and 13 RBI in 46 games. This time, he only drew eight walks against 48 whiffs in 145 PA. The Astros decided to keep him with the Florida-based rookie league in 2022.

Balogh played in 52 games for the FCL Astros Orange in 2022, collecting a hit in 35 of them and multiple hits in 10. On July 9, he hit two singles and a double with a run and an RBI in a 5-4 loss to the FCL Nationals. In total, he slashed .270/.309/.328 over 188 PA, with 11 walks and 50 strikeouts. He also drove in 32 runs, more than his previous two seasons combined.

Defensively, Balogh fielded at a .995 clip in 223 13 innings at first base. He also logged 137 13 innings at third, but made seven errors for an .829 fPct. Balogh played eight errorless innings at second base, seven in left field, and three at shortstop in addition to his two main positions.

Balogh has showed enough steady improvement to merit at least a look with the Low-A Fayetteville Woodpeckers in 2023, but it’s important to remember there are four rookie-level affiliates on roughly equal footing, with the four affiliates above rookie-level in more-or-less a linear organization. That means, in round terms, only the best 25 percent of rookie-level performers get a look at Low-A. Of course, that’s a gross oversimplification, but the gist of it remains true for the most part. Balogh’s marked improvement should punch his ticket to the higher level. Thanks for reading.