Alex Blandino

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Biographical Information[edit]

Infielder Alex Blandino made his major league for the Cincinnati Reds in 2018 and has also played for the Nicaraguan national team.

Amateur Career[edit]

Blandino hit .511 as a senior in high school and was 4-1 with a 2.18 ERA as a pitcher. He set the school record with 18 career homers and was named Player of the Year by Cal-Hi Sports and the San Jose Mercury News. The Oakland A's took him in the 38th round of the 2011 amateur draft, one round before they took Shane Boras. He opted for college. As a Stanford freshman, he hit .294/.371/.523 and tied for 10th in the Pac-12 Conference with 8 home runs. He was named a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball. As a sophomore, he batted .268/.340/.453.

His junior year, Blandino's batting line was .310/.397/.531 with 12 homers and 49 runs in 61 games. He was 4th in the Pac-12 in runs, tied for 7th in hits (70), tied for 7th in doubles (14), second in home runs, 5th in RBI, tied for 7th in walks (30), 3rd in slugging and 4th in OPS. He was All-Conference at 3B. Baseball America named him second-team All-American, behind Dustin DeMuth.

The Cincinnati Reds took him 29th overall in the 2014 amateur draft, compensation for the loss of Shin-Soo Choo to free agency. The scout was Rich Bordi. He was the second Reds pick that year, following Nick Howard.

Pro Career[edit]

He began his professional career in 2014 with the Billings Mustangs of the Pioneer League, hitting .309/.412/.527 with 20 runs in 29 games. At the end of July, he was promoted to the Dayton Dragons of the Midwest League, where he hit .261/.329/.440 in 34 games, to finish with a combined line of .283 /.367/.480, with 20 doubles and 8 homers in 63 games. He also scored 40 runs and drove in 32 while playing solely at shortstop. In 2015, he began the season in the Florida State League with the Daytona Tortugas, hitting .294/.370/.438 in 80 games, then spent a month in AA with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos of the Southern League, where he hit .235/.350/.374 in 30 games. Overall, he hit .278/.364/.420 in 110 games. He belted 25 doubles and 10 homers, scored 61 runs and drove in 83, to confirm his status as one of the top prospects in the Reds organization (ranked #6). He played mainly shortstop but also saw some time at second base. He was named a mid-season All-Star in the FSL. Baseball America named him the #13 prospect in the FSL, between Harold Ramirez and Domonic Brown. With the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League, he hit .175/.246/.270. He still made the 2015 Rising Stars Game.

In 2016, he was invited to spring training by the Reds, with an outside chance to make the team, although he was more likely to return to AA for the time being. He took a break from his team to join Nicaragua in its bid to qualify for a berth in the 2017 World Baseball Classic in the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers Group B in Mexicali, Baja California. While Alex was born in the U.S., his father Tomas had grown up in Nicaragua, making him eligible to play for that team. He was the hero of his team's first game against Germany on March 17th, as he hit a pair of doubles, driving three runs, including the two that turned a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 win for Nicaragua in the bottom of the 10th inning. His double off Markus Solbach in the 2nd made it 1-0. In the 8th, he came up with Nicaragua down 3-2 and a man on, but he whiffed against Martin Dewald. Up with a 4-3 deficit in the bottom of the 10th, he doubled off Enorbel Márquez to drive in Darrel Campbell with the tying run and Jairo Beras with the winning run.

Blandino made his debut with the Reds on April 10, 2018, going 0-for-3 after starting at third base against the Philadelphia Phillies. he had started the year with the AAA Louisville Bats but was called up after just 3 games after Eugenio Suarez went on the disabled list with a broken thumb. He managed to keep a job as a back-up infielder even after Suarez returned, and in 69 games hit .234 while playing three infield spots in addition to sporadic appearance in the outfield, at first base, and even on the mound on mop-up duty. On July 20th, however, he injured his knee in a collision with Max Moroff of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who was attempting to break up a double play. He ruptured a ligament and had to undergo season-ending surgery.

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