2014 Draft: Alex BlandinoBy
Alex Blandino | 3B
Blandino is a Bay Area kid from Palo Alto. He did not sign with the Athletics as a 38th round pick in the 2011 draft and instead followed through on his commitment to Stanford, where he hit .280/.352/.484 with 15 homers in 93 games as a freshman and sophomore. Blandino’s hit .289/.386/.470 with six homeruns and a 20/19 K/BB in 40 games this spring.
Listed at 6-foot-0 and 190 lbs., Blandino stands out because he has an excellent approach at the plate and an incredibly quick and balanced right-handed swing. The relatively modest performance these last three years belies his offensive potential, which has been hampered by Stanford’s one size fits all offensive approach. (They teach everyone to shorten up and shoot the ball the other way at all times, ignoring a hitter’s strengths.) Blandino squares the ball up consistent and makes hard contact, so there is power in there if a team can get the Stanford out of his swing. Some get through it (Jason Castro, Jed Lowrie), some don’t (Cord Phelps, Michael Taylor). Blandino has a strong arm and good footwork at the hot corner, though there are rumblings he might wind up at second base. Either way, whichever team drafts him will take him for his bat.
In their latest rankings, Keith Law (subs. req’d ) and MLB.com ranked Blandino as the 29th and 78th best prospect in the draft class, respectively. He did not make Baseball America‘s most recent top 50. This draft is very light on college bats yet Blandino could go as high as the top 15 picks or as low as the late second round. Stanford hitters tend to fall in the draft because teams are wary of the bad habits formed — Austin Wilson went 49th overall last year despite top 10-15 tools, for example — so Blandino may or may not be available for the Yankees’ first pick (55th overall). He did perform well with wood bats in the Cape Cod League last summer (.308/.363/.454) and scouting director Damon Oppenheimer has shown an affinity for guys who perform on the Cape, so I’m sure there’s interest.