Reds Alex Blandino is figuring out Double-A Doug Gray June 17, 2017 16 Comments Alex Blandino was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds out of Stanford in 2014. His career started out quite well. Between 2014 and 2015 at the Rookie and two A-ball levels he hit .287/.368/.464 in 908 plate appearances. The former 1st-round pick was posting numbers that you expected someone with his pedigree to produce and he was doing so while playing up the middle at shortstop and second base. Late in the 2015 season the Reds promoted Alex Blandino to Double-A Pensaocla. The then 22-year-old played in 30 games at the end of the year with the Blue Wahoos and struggled, hitting .235/.350/.374. He walked 18 times with just 21 strikeouts at the level. That’s good, but he couldn’t find the hits in a small sample size of just one month of play. In the 2016 season Alex Blandino returned to Double-A with the Blue Wahoos and things didn’t go any better. In fact, they got a little worse. He began the year on the disabled list, injuring himself in the World Baseball Classic qualifier. He only missed the first week of the season, but he never really seemed to put together any stretch of play that was above-average. Blandino was never able to OPS over .760 in any month and was under .660 in three different months of the season. 2017 began with more struggles in Pensacola for Alex Blandino. He hit just .182/.357/.236 in April. With 14 walks and 14 strikeouts in the month, the plate discipline was there, but there weren’t hits, or any power that came along with it. That made it seven straight months, over parts of three seasons, of struggles for Blandino in Double-A. Things weren’t looking good. Everything seems to have changed beginning in May for Alex Blandino. The now 24-year-old has gone on a tear. In 42 games between May and June of 2017 with Double-A Pensacola he’s hit .287/.384/.529 with 18 doubles and five home runs. His OPS of .913, while playing half of those games in a very pitcher friendly home ballpark in Pensacola, is far-and-away the best stretch he’s had at the level. He’s showing some power, he’s walked 18 times and he’s only had 33 strikeouts. Offensively, he’s doing things he’s never done at the level before. It may be coming at the perfect time for him, too. There are two very good prospects a level below that play the same positions that he does. Is a promotion coming for Alex Blandino? The Blue Wahoos have clinched a playoff birth in the first half. The Cincinnati Reds tend to make mid-season promotions in the minor leagues and there are several guys in Daytona that are deserving of being moved up. While a rough April still has Alex Blandino’s overall line looking just “good”, what he’s been doing for a majority of the first half has been significantly better than that. Perhaps it’s time for a promotion to Triple-A for him to see if he can carry forward his production. 16 Responses Russ Proctor June 17, 2017 If they promoted Blandino to AAA, what would they do with Dilson Herrera up there? Doug Gray June 17, 2017 Utilize the DH spot. Get Blandino some time at DH, 2B, SS, 3B. SunkenFan June 18, 2017 There is a 1yr age difference between the two, but Blandino has a much better arm, is better defensively, hits for more power and has better plate discipline…so I hope we do see them compete soon. Nick June 17, 2017 When is Travieso going to be pitching in games again? And at what level? Doug Gray June 17, 2017 I haven’t checked in for a while, but he began throwing out in Arizona a few weeks ago. Assuming there were no setbacks, I think we could see him soon-ish. I’d imagine AA when he does come back. Kap June 17, 2017 Is he or can he be a top of the order type hitter? Doug Gray June 17, 2017 Probably not. Steve June 17, 2017 Great to see Blandino continue to improve. Is this due to a different approach? Changes in batting mechanics? Feeling the pressure from Long? Already U types in Renda, Sweeney and Iribarren in Louisville with also Dixon and Perez being able to play the position. Vincej has adjusted well in his first go around in AAA. Perez on DL now and will take away ABs when he returns. It’s crowded in Louisville and less PT may slow down his progress. If they do promote him, it looks to me that Hunter, then Amaral will lose their roster spots. Pitching is another area where players like Mahle and Castillo deserve serious promotion consideration at mid season. Reed, Romano, Stephenson, Mahle and Castillo looks to be a very solid starting 5. Some relievers also strong candidates for promotion. Decisions, decisions. Patrick June 17, 2017 Castillo still needs to stay at AA. He has things to work on. He needs more time showing he can miss bats. He needs to show more of what he has shown in his last 3 starts. Last year and start of this year was giving up basically a hit per inning and only 7/k per nine. DaveCT June 17, 2017 Great to see. Let’ hope he sustains things. Given the presence of Herrera, Long, Sweeney, etc., as up the middle guys who also have some pop, Blandino could be a decent trade chip. Not a headliner at this point, of course, but a nice 2nd tier guy to fill out a deal, especially being a former first rounder. Hard to see him beating out Long or Herrera (or Suarez for that matter if we keep him and shift him to 2B), but stranger things have happened. RedsKoolAidDrinker June 17, 2017 Why not beating out Herrera? DaveCT June 17, 2017 Herrera’ minor league totals are .294/.357/.460 with 65 home runs. He was a top 50 prospect in 2014, then was bumped to the ML’s as an injury replacement from AA as a 20 year old in a pennant race and held his own. He hit well again the next year at AAA then in 2016 was hurt before the Bruce trade. I’d say his resume is stronger than Blandino’s at this point. Plus, as the centerpiece of the trade for the Reds, I expect he’ll have every chance to win the job. If he does, Blandino will have no chance to unseat him. MK June 17, 2017 Where does Calton Daal stand at this point? Jami Sanderson June 17, 2017 Calten re-injured his shoulder in AZ training camp about a month ago. He had told me he was coming back to Pensacola, but now that is delayed. Blandino has been terrific to watch this year. Great to see him doing well. Shedd Long come on up…? DaveCT June 17, 2017 It’s too bad Daal is hurt frequently. With such a slight body type, he may not have the physical tools for the grind of full season ball. It’s unfortunate. Hingle McCringleberry June 17, 2017 I’m really high on blandino. If he can hit .255-.260 he’ll be productive.