WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Growing up in Canada, Jordan Balazovic had a hockey stick in one hand and a baseball glove in the other.
“It got to a point where it was too much,” said Balazovic. “My parents said, ‘you have to pick one or the other.’”
Ultimately, he chose the sport that runs in his family.
“They love baseball. They like it more than hockey,” said Balazovic. “My dad played it and my grandfather played it – he actually was an outfielder for the Cleveland Indians.”
The freezing ice rink also impacted his decision, admitted Balazovic.
“We don’t like the cold which is funny because we all live in Canada.”
An opportunity to follow in his grandfather’s major league footsteps took the right-handed pitcher by surprise.
“Travel ball helped me a lot, but I wasn’t a big prospect coming up,” said Balazovic. “I kind of came up out of nowhere.”
It only took one pitch in Fort Myers, Fla. at a Perfect Game tournament for the Mississauga, Ont. native to get on the MLB radar.
“I was 17, I think I hit 90 [mph] for the first time,” said Balazovic. “At the time, I was trying to get a scholarship somewhere.”
That same year, in 2016, Balazovic’s professional baseball career would begin earlier than expected when he was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the fifth round of the MLB draft.
“I took my chance and ran with it,” said Balazovic.
A chance was all he needed. Now, Balazovic is the No. 1 pitching prospect in the Twins organization.
“I never would have thought it would have turned into this,” said Balazovic. “I’m just working hard. It’s my passion.”
Balazovic hopes his passion will take him to the major leagues as another Canadian making an impression on America’s pastime.