Rox 5th-rounder: 'All I care about is winning'

Michigan's Blomgren rates highest on competitiveness

June 19th, 2020

DENVER -- Put away the calculator, radar gun and stopwatch and ask a simple question: Can he play? University of Michigan shortstop Jack Blomgren will have a chance to answer that question with the Rockies, who took him in the fifth round of the 2020 MLB Draft.

Blomgren, listed by Michigan at 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, might be small on traditional scouting tools, but he’s big on accomplishment.

“One thing that not everyone has that I have is overall competitiveness and the will to win,” Blomgren said. “When I step between those lines, all I care about is winning. That’s what takes me over the edge.

“I might not have the loudest tools on the scouting reports, but I think I do everything pretty well. I can run pretty well. I can bunt. I can make things happen. I’m a pretty solid defender.”

In 2019 as a sophomore, Blomgren batted .314 with 13 extra-base hits. He had a .417 on-base percentage and hit streaks of 15 and 33 games. He had nine hits in the College World Series while lifting the Wolverines to the finals. This year, he reached base in all 15 games before the season was halted because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is where you go to the scouting report and look for a measurement -- speed, size, some kind of metric. But you don’t get it. It’s intangible pluses (makeup, instincts, offensive patience) countered by physical neutrals and minuses (bat speed, average running speed and arm strength, lack of power hitting).

But Blomgren went from a baseball/basketball athlete from Craig High School in Janesville, Wis. -- a state not known for baseball products -- and started 137 of 141 games for a Wolverines squad that grew into one of the best in the nation.

Blomgren is the type of player that grows on frequent observes, such as Rockies vice president of scouting Bill Schmidt, whose son, Matt Schmidt, played for the Wolverines and this week signed with the Royals as an undrafted free agent. Schmidt not only saw Blomgren play but got to know him last summer during the Cape Cod League. Because of injury, Blomgren played only two games, but Schmidt gained insight.

“What he has inside of him is real special,” Schmidt said. “He’s a tough competitor that is all about winning. He’s about making other people around him better. On the field, he’s a really steady player. He’s nothing real flashy, but when he gets between the lines he’s trying to beat you.”

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Blomgren is similar in size to Rockies utility man Garrett Hampson, and they have on-base tools, although Hampson is faster. Blomgren’s sense of positioning and timing could allow him to stay at shortstop, but his skills can transfer to other infield positions.

The scouting report says of Blomgren’s flat, right-handed swing: “He sprays line drives to all fields but offers ordinary bat speed and little power, as evidenced by his .357 slugging percentage in college.”

Blomgren believes there is more to his bat.

“Over these past 2 1/2 or so seasons at Michigan, I’ve developed my bat pretty rapidly,” Blomgren said. “I believe once I step into this next phase of my life, with higher levels of coaching, being around better players, is only going to make me better overall. I agree that I have a lot of ceiling left at the plate, with the ability to hit for more power. That’s going to come with building my strength. I have a lot of trust in this organization that they’ll take me on the right path.”