Cincinnati Reds prospect Alex Blandino looks to earn MLB role

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

With the loss of Zack Cozart via free agency, Alex Blandino wants to earn time at shortstop for Cincinnati Reds.

The Cincinnati Reds are in need of a back-up shortstop.  Prospect Alex Blandino wants that role.  He has already had an up and down career in a few short years.

Blandino only spent five games at shortstop last season.  Instead, he played mostly second and third.  Still, both he and the Reds believe that he can play all three positions at the MLB level.

The Reds drafted Blandino in the first round of the 2014 draft out of Stanford.  Blandino played in both Rookie ball and A-ball in his first year as a professional.  He looked like an elite batter at that time.

Blandino played every game at shortstop that year.  He had a combined 15 errors over 59 games.  That is too many to sustain.

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In 2015 Blandino played mostly shortstop, but played a handful of games at second.  While at A-Ball he batted .294.  When he moved up to Double-A, his batting average dropped to .235.

Blandino spent all of 2016 in Double-A.  He played primarily second base, but also spent time at short and third.  He only collected a .232 batting average during that time.

Alex Blandino’s minor league defense shows him as back-up infielder for the Cincinnati Reds.

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Over the course of his minor league career, Blandino has spent nearly equal time at short and second.  He has spent over twice as much time at either of those positions compared to third base.  Now the Reds have to figure out if he can play all three at the MLB level or not.

In 59 starts at third base Blandino has committed 9 errors.  That is a little high.  Blandino doesn’t project as an MLB third baseman.

At shortstop Blandino has 40 errors in 177 minor league starts.  That is not tenable.  Blandino doesn’t project as a shortstop.  

Blandino made 12 errors in the minors while playing second base.  He has made 143 minor league starts at second.  That appears to be the one position that he could cover defensively full-time.

The question us whether Blandino is ready for the big leagues or not.  He hit 12 home runs to go with a combined .265  batting average in 2017.  That is a career high for Blandino.

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The Reds see Blandino as a utility player and added him to the forty man roster this off-season.  He sees himself as a potential back-up shortstop.  If they are wrong, he will be fighting a handful of players for time at second base.