Aug 27, 2013, 11:51 AM EDT
One-time Mariners prospect and former Mariners and Reds outfielder Wladimir Balentien has been playing in Japan since 2011 and this year he’s making a serious run at the single-season homer record.
Balentien, who hit 31 homers for the Yakult Swallows in both 2011 and 2012, has 50 homers through 98 games this season. Yakult has 33 games remaining and the all-time record in Japan is 55 homers by Sadaharu Oh in 1964, Tuffy Rhodes in 2001, and Alex Cabrera in 2002.
Balentien always flashed 30-homer power coming up through the minors and went deep 15 times in 511 at-bats as a big leaguer, but he struck out a ton and struggled to post decent batting averages. This year for Yakult he’s hitting .335 with as many walks (76) as strikeouts (76) and sports an OPS near 1.300.
- Report: MLB likely to adjust rules for plays at home and transfer catches 2
- Settling the Score: Friday’s results 15
- Giancarlo Stanton sends the Marlins to victory with a walk-off grand slam 20
- Jason Bartlett will retire after 10 years in the big leagues 9
- Pirates acquire Ike Davis in a trade with the Mets 46
- Hank Aaron is getting vile racist hate mail in retaliation for pointing out that racism still exists (245)
- “They Don’t Know Henry” (167)
- Doug Glanville’s story about being racially profiled at his own home (125)
- There is still a racial divide in baseball (112)
- And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights (96)