Player: Alex Blandino
Drafted by: Cincinnati Reds
DOB: 11/6/1992 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6'0", 190 pounds
Previously Drafted: 2011, 38th round by Athletics
Even though there are valid reasons to criticize the way Stanford trains its young hitters out of high school, such as teaching them that any kind of contact and fewer strikeouts are better than harder contact and more strikeouts, there's something to be said for success.
Alex Blandino will join recent Cardinal draftees Stephen Piscotty, Kenny Diekroeger and Austin Wilson when his name gets called. The one thing all those players have in common, aside from their choice of school, is being solid, all-around prospects.
None of them projects to be a star at the MLB level, but there's no reason to think they won't have sustained careers. Blandino has come into his own over the last 12 months, showing a better feel at the plate and more pop that projects well to the next level.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Blandino's surface level skills aren't overwhelming; has good hand-eye coordination but only average bat speed, so you wouldn't expect him to hit as well as he does; it's testament to the 21-year-old's bat control and approach that he will hit for average at the MLB level, though advanced breaking balls are going to be a work-in-progress.
High hand position allows him to drive through the ball with authority; has natural strength, including plus raw power, but tends to be more conservative during games by opting to make contact and go the other way instead of letting the barrel drive the ball; good loft and finish in the swing that make average power easy to project.
Plate Discipline: 50/55
The biggest reason Blandino projects as an average MLB hitter is his ability to read pitchers and recognize pitches; patient, selective hitter who rarely chases pitches out of the zone; assuming the power starts to play in games, combined with the plate discipline, he has more potential than the raw tools suggest.
He isn't going to win any track meets, but with average speed and solid instincts, he should end up with his share of stolen bases; has athleticism to play second base, but the range and lateral quickness should be fine for third base in pro ball.
A solid-average defensive profile, Blandino will have more value if he can stick at third base; has good reactions and quick hips to either side that the range will be fine at the hot corner; Stanford product will make all the routine plays and has the arm to stick.
Has underrated arm strength; it's not good enough to play shortstop but far too good to hide at second base; accurate with his throws, showing good footwork and never rushing to get an out.
MLB Player Comparison: Kyle Seager
There's a little more power in Seager's bat than Blandino's, but the overall packages are similar. They don't have plus tools in any category but are solid-average across the board and will carve out long, successful careers as a result. They also have similar physiques, as both are 6'0", though Seager is more muscular at 215 pounds.
Projection: Average third baseman on first-division team
MLB ETA: 2016
Chances of Signing: 90 percent
There are overwhelming reasons for Blandino to sign a contract when he gets drafted, not the least of which is getting away from the Stanford coaching system that doesn't allow hitters to show all their strengths in the box.
He's also one of the few projectable college bats who is worthy of being taken in the top two rounds. You don't risk that for one more year of school, even at one of the best educational institutions in the country.