With just a couple days left before the 2014 MLB draft, Keith Law has taken yet another shot at predicting the first round. This time around, he's got the Red Sox taking Stanford third baseman Alex Blandino with the 26th overall pick.
As with so many other draft experts, Law has apparently heard that the Red Sox are looking for a college bat with their first pick. Recently we've seen Derek Fisher and A.J. Reed as possible candidates to fill that role for Boston, but Blandino is a new name.
Unlike Fisher and Reed, who both boast big bats with questionable gloves, Blandino is something of a tweener. He has decent power, but nothing special. He has a good swing and a solid eye at the plate, which has finally translated to results with Stanford in the form of a .312/.399/.540 batting line in 56 games this year. But this summary from Baseball America raises a few flags:
Blandino projects more as a fringe-average or average power hitter rather than a true bopper, so a move to second base fits better than third. He's an average defender with good hands and an average arm, and if his bat doesn't develop he may be athletic enough to be a utility infielder, playing all three spots.
Maybe it's just me, but this screams Kolbrin Vitek more than anyone else to me. Blandino is a player without any particular tool grading out as anything more than above-average, and for a player whose upside doesn't exactly jump off the paper, that "utility infielder" designation really does seem all-too-likely. There's certainly room for those players on any team and in any draft, but in the first round?
Law, for what it's worth, seems to suggest that the Red Sox themselves would not be too happy with Blandino, with him representing more of a fallback pick in the event players like Fisher are already off the board by the time it's Boston's turn to pick. That, I suppose, is the price you pay for winning a World Series. Not a bad deal, on the whole.