Reds' Blandino rakes in Fall League win
Club's No. 7 prospect goes 3-for-4, drives in three runs
Alex Blandino knows the hits don't come easy in the Arizona Fall League.
Blandino, the No. 7 prospect in Cincinnati's organization according to MLB Pipeline, rapped three hits and notched three RBIs in Peoria's 6-3 victory over Glendale on Friday. Blandino had a two-run triple and an RBI single in the victory, and he raised his average in the Fall League to .204.
Prior to Arizona, Blandino batted .294 in 80 games for Class A Daytona and .235 in his first 30 games for Double-A Pensacola. Blandino, who turned 23 on November 6, logged a .364 on-base percentage between his two stops this year, and he said he's impressed by the arms he's seen in Arizona.
"The arms are good," he said. "It's some of the best talent the Minor Leagues have to offer. You're not getting too many easy days at the plate where you can just roll it out and get hits. It's good mental practice to know you've got to be completely locked in every at-bat in order to have success."
Blandino, a shortstop, was selected by the Reds as the 29th overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, and he's steadily progressed through the Minors. He's batted .280 with a .365 on-base percentage in 173 Minor League games, but he's been caught stealing (17) more times than he's successfully stolen a base (16).
Blandino stole a base in Friday's game, and he said he's relishing getting extra work in Arizona.
"A lot about basestealing is picking a good pitch to go on and getting a good jump," said Blandino of sharpening up his baserunning. "Any time you feel like you're in rhythm with the pitcher and you can get a good jump -- and he's not too quick to the plate -- Rod Barajas, our skipper, gives us the green light. It's kind of on us to have those instincts and take the extra bag if we're comfortable doing so."
Blandino, who played his college ball at Stanford University, played more than 100 games in a professional season for the first time this year, but he said he's enjoyed the grind. The Arizona Fall League isn't exhausting, he said, as much as it's energizing to take on a new challenge.
"It has been a long season. A lot of games. But it's fun," said Blandino. "You get to play baseball for a living and you know exactly what you're signing up for when you decide to play professional baseball. The weather is great, the team atmosphere is great and we're having a lot of fun out here."