Let’s start with a blanket statement: Drafting Alex Blandino goes against everything the Reds organization believes.

Normally, I hate blanket statements because they give off an air of absolute that just doesn’t exist in the real world. However, while researching the Reds young infielder, I couldn’t help but realize that this one might just be true. Now, let’s break that statement into three parts, just to see how it holds up.

Part 1: The Reds drafted Alex Blandino

This part is pretty undeniable. With the 29th pick of the 2014 draft (a compensation pick for losing Shin Soo Choo), the Reds took the then 21-year-old Stanford third baseman.

Previously taken in the 38th round by the A’s in 2011, Blandino decided to remain in his hometown of Palo Alto to play ball for the Cardinal. In high school, Blandino won the Rawlings Golden Glove award for best fielding shortstop in the country. Curiously enough, the Cubs Javier Baez won the same award that year for third basemen. In another fun awards twist of fate, Blandino was named first team All-California along with Reds farmhand Robert Stephenson in 2011. That same year, Blandino hit .511/.453 with 9 HR and 39 RBIs and pitched 45.0 innings to the tune of a 2.18 ERA.

At Stanford, Blandino made an impact as a freshman, hit a road block his sophomore year, and then broke out again his junior year, earning second team All-America honors before being drafted. Slashing .294/.371/.523 in 29 starts his freshman year, Blandino cemented himself in the Cardinal lineup, even showing a little bit of pop as the team’s second leading home run hitter. Possibly more impressive though was a .563, 4 HR stretch Blandino had over a week in mid-April, the heart of conference play.

His second year, Blandino suffered the sophomore slump that seems to occur in every sport at every level for no discernible reason. He only slashed .268/.340/.453 that season while starting all but one game at third, but still managed to be second on the team in homers with seven. Blandino’s fielding also dropped off his sophomore season as he committed 14 errors, the most on the team by a fair margin.

Turning it all around his junior season, Blandino led the team in homers with 12, slashed .310/.397/.531, and made the Pac-12 All-Defensive team, putting his fielding demons to rest (despite leading the Cardinal in errors once more). Not surprisingly, Blandino had more home runs his junior season than did three other Pac-12 teams.

All of which led tot he Reds making the jump of selecting Blandino–the 6’0″, 190lb, 52nd ranked prospect in the 2014 draft–with the 29th pick.

Part 2: The Reds organization has a set of beliefs

More or less entirely conjecture, this part can only be proved through a litany of fan sentiment. Just look at Steve Mancuso’s open letter to Mr. Castellini from this past summer–“Unfortunately, your organization is operating based on principles that worked in the past but are now out of date.” Or look to the World Wide leader in sports and their feature on the best and worst analytical teams in sports. The Reds are ranked firmly in the “Skeptics” department and are described as “remain[ing] a front office with a traditional composition” and “hav[ing] made a relatively small investment in analytics.”

Yesterday, Steve laid out the Reds set of beliefs and how they’ve changed of late. With the promotion of Dick Williams to General Manager, the Reds are no longer the “Skeptic” that ESPN named but one year ago. The Reds are embracing modern philosophy, learning to use it, and most importantly, actually employing some strategies. But they aren’t there yet. As Steve said:

When it comes to smart baseball, there’s talking the talk and acquiring the walk, so to speak.

Even with the data buttoned down by new staff members, decision makers have to interpret it correctly in context in relation to the big picture. Tactics vs. strategy. A major part of the strategic environment is the decline in run scoring. Even a cursory glance around the major leagues indicates that clubs are emphasizing speed and defense. But it’s vital to understand why that’s happening. They’re doing it because speed and defense are what’s out there, a byproduct of the relative scarcity of power hitting.

That doesn’t mean power is less important. Just the opposite. Scarcity makes power hitting even more valuable to develop or acquire. Meanwhile, speed and defense are becoming easier to find.

Think of this current Reds iteration. We have speed (Billy Hamilton); we have defense (Zack Cozart/Brandon Phillips); and we have a whole order full of free-swinging, boom-or-bust hitters. And therein lies the problem with the Reds set of beliefs. We’re trying to use the same old techniques of run-scoring in an environment that no longer favors those techniques. We’re trying to outsmart a market by using it’s most abundant qualities.

Part 3: Part 1 goes against Part 2

So back to Alex Blandino: how does the Reds drafting of the Stanford All-American counter their set of beliefs (as it existed in 2014 and still exists to a lesser extent today)?

It all boils down to the idea of the Stanford Swing. An idea that permeates scout’s evaluations of Stanford hitters, the Stanford Swing supposes that the specific brand of hitting taught by Cardinal coaches zaps players of their power in favor of an inside-out, contact-heavy approach. The label has the connotation of working well in the college game (hence Stanford’s success) but failing at the upper levels. Players who have been tagged with the Stanford Swing and washed out of baseball pretty quick include Michael Taylor, Austin Wilson, and Kevin Diekroger.

Accounts on whether Blandino has the typical Stanford Swing differ, but most projections prior to the draft all mentioned the phenomenon in some way. Blandino has an even swing through the zone that’s not quick to the ball but not long either. His swing–like most Stanford products–leads to more line drives, but it doesn’t focus on driving the ball the other way. Also, across the board, scouts have praised Blandino’s plate discipline and his ability to not chase pitches outside the zone. Despite all of this, as a player without one specialized tool but decent across the board, the Stanford Swing seems to have been used as a false indicator to his worth.

I say that drafting Alex Blandino goes against the Reds set of beliefs because surprisingly, the Reds somehow drafted a solid player who works well in the current league environment. Blandino fits nicely into the strategy of analytics that Steve wrote about. He’s not defense for the sake of being of being defense, but complements that tool with other decent, usable traits. Also, not only did the Reds take Blandino 23 spots ahead of where he was valued, but they did so against the conventional wisdom of traditional baseball scouting.

To put this front office coup in perspective, compare Blandino to Jose Peraza, acquired this winter as part of the Todd Frazier trade. Peraza is the stereotypical Reds infielder: fast, good glove, no power, and no plate discipline. None of those are particularly bad qualities, but considering he was the centerpiece of a trade for the Reds marquee chip, it’s all a bit demoralizing. Blandino looks to be a moderately richer man’s Zack Cozart: decent glove, enough power, and walks at a decent clip (9.1% in 80 A games/13.0% in 30 AA games). He’s toolsy in the way that clubs need from a shortstop; not a superstar by any means, but dependable.

Part 4: So where does Blandino fit in the organization?

After the draft, Red Reporter writer Cy Schourek projected Blandino’s ceiling to be something like Jed Lowrie, which if it comes to fruition, would be a boon for the Reds.

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After a decent first year on the farm (.294/.370/.438 in A; .235/.350/.374 in AA), Blandino looks to continue steadily moving up the ladder and hopefully make the team come spring 2017. Most promisingly, Blandino posted above average wRC+ at both minor league stops, giving the Reds hope for a solid bottom third hitter.

As for his long-term future, there was talk that Blandino might be lost in the organizational shuffle with the addition of Peraza at second, but I would beg to differ. With Cozart and/or Phillips gone after 2016, all infield positions are up for grabs (sans Joey Votto’s domain) with Suarez, Blandino, and Peraza to fight for them. Most coaches see Blandino at the hot corner, but if he can maintain numbers anything like Zack Cozart and walk a bit too, I think letting him take the reins at short and leaving Suarez at third could be the best move for the organization. Blandino would have to up his arm strength quite a bit to stick at short, but having good options for both spots on the left side of the infield is not a bad dilemma.

On paper, Blandino is solid all around and somehow that’s a detriment in a lot of scout’s eyes, but what about the intangibles? For one, Blandino is bilingual, having grown-up with a Nicaraguan father who required Spanish be spoken at home. As the Billings Gazette reported in 2014, Blandino is uniquely skilled to help bridge the language barrier between coaches and players and has done so in part at the minor league level.

Second (and far less important but it needs to be said), Blandino has fantastic hair. Like truly amazing hair. There has been a definite void in the follicle department since Bronson Arroyo, Mike Leake, and Johnny Cueto were all traded and Alex Blandino is obliged to fill it.

All of this to say, the Reds–whether knowingly or not–drafted a solid prospect in Alex Blandino against what is perceived to be their system. With the new management starting to gain more influence, Blandino will be a welcome cog in the team’s new direction, ideally playing a large role in the rebuilt team of 2017 and beyond. But the entirety of this projection is overwhelming premature. As of now, Blandino is just another solid prospect on paper who put up decent, if not good, numbers last year; who has a solid swing and good defensive instincts; who is charismatic and good-looking; but most of all, who is unproven and still a “wildcard” that the Reds took an unexpected risk on a year and half ago.

Join the conversation! 46 Comments

  1. “no power, and no plate discipline. None of those are particularly bad qualities”

    Ha! Agree to disagree on that part, but great article otherwise. 😉

    • It’s pushing it to say Peraza has no plate discipline – he doesn’t strikeout much at all, so he’s more than a free swinger with no discipline. If he had no discipline he’d probably strike out a lot more, and chase things like Billy Hamilton. With so little power other teams probably pound the strike zone, and Peraza is great at putting the ball in play.

      In Joey Votto’s case walking him might be the safest thing for the other team, while in Peraza and Billy Hamilton’s cases it’s the last thing they want to do. Throw them something hittable and there’s a ~70% chance they’ll make an out. But Peraza is much better than Hamilton at actually making contact with those.

      • To me telling Joey Votto to get thrown more hittable pitches in the strike zone is just as unreasonable as telling Peraza to get thrown more pitches to watch outside of the strike zone. They have to work with the pitches they get… Peraza gets lots of strikes, Votto gets lots of balls. There’s a lot more to that than plate discipline.

        As long as they’re not striking out they’re both being effective.

  2. Last ten reds first round,.position player draft picks:

    T. Stephenson

    I didn’t look up all their stats, but if I remember correctly, all of these guys put up above average walk rates in the minors. Some of them consistently put up double digit walk rates in the minors. Where in the world is this idea that the Reds hate walks coming from? The same team that drafted and developed Votto, and gave him one of the largest contracts ever hates walks and OBP?

    If you want to make the case that Walt doesn’t value OBP like he should, then fine. He did give the Votto contract and trade for Choo, but he has signed some pretty bad OBP guys. I think it’s more that he values veteranness and intangibles instead of hates OBP. But whatever. This article is about draft picks and Walt doesn’t do the drafting. There is no evidence that the Reds scouting department disregards plate discipline. There is plenty of evidence that they do value it.

    • I would not say “the Reds (front office) hates OBP.” It is more of the Reds front office doesn’t embrace OBP. At the beginning of last off-season, Jocketty proclaimed that the Reds mission that off-season was to find a few players who didn’t strike out a ton and had higher OBP. What a colossal failure that was. An epic failure. Jocketty’s efforts brought us Brennan Boesch, Chris Dominguez, and Marlon Byrd. Jocketty went out and did the complete opposite of what he said the Reds were going to do.
      And then to make matters worse, the Reds put the worst OBP player in the lineup at leadoff. Many times the second batter in the lineup had just as bad an OBP. To put such hitters in front of Votto, it is a foundamentally flawed front office.

      • This is not about Jockety though. Wesley implied that drafting Blandino went against some organisational bias against high OBP players. That is false. See Winker, Alonso, Ervin, Grandal and the king of OBP himself, Mr Votto. Walt doesn’t do the draft. The scouting department, led by Buckley, does. There is plenty of evidence that suggests they do value plate discipline accordingly.

        • The scouting department-yes I couldn’t agree more. But what happens after the draft as those draftees move up the ranks? The Reds organizational philosophy takes over, and Jocketty has been the architect of that since his arrival. Jocketty hires the coaches and hitting instructors for each level. The front office sets the tone for the minor leagues. That is where the flaws creep in. Not in the draft itself.

      • Maybe the front office realizes that OBP is not the be all, end all of analytics. Maybe they realize that OBP today, unlike the moneyball era, is not undervalued and may possible be overvalued on the open market when compared to things like speed and defense.

        Boesch and Dominguez were definitely low walk, low OBP players. But they were bottom of the barrel signings. You’re not going to get a .370 + OBP guy scraping the bottom of the barrel. The big mistake was putting them on the opening day roster. But then again, the Reds didn’t have a lot of great choices for the bench. And neither of those guys got a whole lot of playing time and were soon replaced by a guy who showed better plate discipline in DeJesus.

        Agree completely with you about the lineup. But that’s really a managerial decision. The only control the front office has on that is through firing and hiring the manager. The did get rid of Dusty. And while the Price signing looks like a mistake now, he seemed like a forward thinking guy at the time.

      • I agree with you to a point. I’m sure the Reds value OBP….the issue is that everyone values OBP and it’s now highly sought after, expensive and difficult to develop.

        15 years ago, OBP was important but didn’t cost what it cost now. You could find guys with other flaws who were good at getting on base for a reasonable price….now you can’t.

        Marlon Byrd became a Red because he was flawed enough to be affordable to play left field for a team that had no more money to spend.

        • Like your description of Byrd; but, I think the reason the team felt they didn’t have the money to spend on any better was because of money squandered elsewhere a million or two or three at a time without realizing those would add up pocketbook pinch.

        • Lest we forget Nori Aoki was not pursued with a similar price tag

      • What the Reds want to do and what they can afford to do through free agency are pretty different. A lack of resources to spend on bench players, in my opinion, says little about the team’s goals.

        What made Marlon Byrd a fit? Jesse Winker (who is an OBP machine, I might add). They needed a stopgap for Jesse Winker. Somebody who could play everyday for a year, be inexpensive, and be unavailable. OBP-machines would’ve required more prospect value, or free agents would’ve required multi-year deals to block Winker. I think these factors lead to Marlon Byrd. Don’t worry, later in 2016 the front office will ’embrace’ OBP by promoting Jesse Winker.

        Brennan Boesch was a scrub signing, but he was also fresh off winning a batting title in AAA with a .381 OBP. If anything his case is a reminder not to over-estimate OBP, since his AAA dominance didn’t carry over. It’s probably also something you could hold against AAA OBP-machine Tyler Holt.

      • Price probably put BH at lead-off, and Jocketty, like any GM, is constrained by who’s available and what they will cost. Recognizing a problem is usually easier than assessing blame.

        • A big part of Billy Hamilton leading off is the team’s lack of an ideal leadoff hitter. With a choice of several flawed options, they have a choice of which flaws to accept – any of whom are unpopular among critics. In my opinion the three top candidates are currently Hamilton, Phillips, and Suarez… three guys whose OBP is too low to be a good leadoff hitter, but one with the ability to create chaos if and when he reaches base.

          Selection of a leadoff hitter, usually blame on the manager, is usually a key accusation supporting the old-school mentality claim. It’s easier to blame than fix. Hoping Hamilton turns into a leadoff hitter still seems like the team’s best immediate solution, until someone like Blandino (or perhaps Peraza or Ervin) gets promoted.

    • Wow, what a list. I’m sure Doug can comment more precisely but with the exception of Geliach that’s a pretty solid job by the scouting department. Add Votto to that list and seeing them in a column like that really changes my perspective. Apparently we draft 1st round position players pretty darn well. In addition to your OBP point (well made, BTW) – in general they rarely miss the mark. Good stuff.

    • Unfortunately Blandino was not the Reds first first round pick that year. The Reds drafted EXACTLY who they usually draft, a college reliever who they tried to convert to a starters, named Howard. He is a total complete bust!

      • It isn’t looking good at the moment but I think it’s hard to declare him a bust right now. He’s only had 2 pro seasons and 72 innings under his belt. He’s had some injury problems and his results haven’t been good but he’s still just 22. He may end up being a bust and it’s leaning that way at the moment, but at 22, I’m not ready to declare any kid a bust quite yet.

        • Yeah. Many see Brandon Finnegan as a future relief pitcher, but nobody calls him a bust or failed first round draft pick because of it. Howard will likely never make the majors as a starting pitcher, but there’s plenty of time for him to become a successful reliever.

          Nick Howard is seemingly being returned to the bullpen now, and it’ll be interesting to see how he does with a fresh start in 2016. This is a big year for Howard, to prove he’s more than he’s shown.

          It’s easy to be angry that Howard was drafted over OF Bradley Zimmer or RHP Grant Holmes, but as always several teams chose possible busts in that first round, including Tyler Kolek, Alex Jackson and Kyle Freeland… choosing a bust in the first round is hardly a Reds-only phenomenon. It occasionally happens to everyone.

          • If a draft pick from any round, even the illustrious first, manages to turn into a quality MLB player, then that player isn’t a bust. At least that’s my opinion.

  3. [deleted for violating site commenting guidelines]

    • I’m wondering why you think I want to trash the Reds for Blandino and not commend them which was entirely my intention? I was pleasantly surprised by the Reds scouting department in picking up the infielder despite what I believe (and has been pretty nearly proven) the organizational values to be. I don’t see this as a “hit piece” much less unhappy with the Reds, quite the opposite. Genuine surprise would be more the tone I would ascribe myself.

      As for 3b vs. 2b vs. ss, I know he won’t stick at ss but that’s where I personally feel he holds the most value. Considering him, Peraza, and Suarez, I believe the ideal combo is ss, 2b, 3b respectively, but I can see why people would disagree there.

      • Where has it been proven that the Reds scouting department has this organizational belief that OBP doesn’t matter? See my list of first round picks above. Blandino, Winker, Ervin, Grandal, Alonso etc.are all high walk guys. Geliach is interesting because walking was about the only good thing he did offensively.

        For a site that preaches analytics, some of you guys are very un-analytic when it comes to your beliefs. The sabr movement was rooted in using data to challenge preconceived notions. Your are taking a preconceived notion that has no factual basis and running with it like it is the truth.

        There is nothing analytic about group think. Open your mind and look at the facts.

      • I don’t mean to be mean, but your article sets a general hypothesis, disproves that own hypothesis, then sticks to it at the end. “All of this to say, the Reds–whether knowingly or not–drafted a solid prospect in Alex Blandino against what is perceived to be their system” You had a theory. Your analysis seemingly disproved the theory. Conclusion? Outlier, theory stands. It seems like the selection of Blandino – rather than being an attack on the team’s own values – needs to make YOU reevaluate what YOU perceive those values to be. Maybe look into what the Reds do seem to value, rather than sticking by an assumption you found to be false.

        If you’re feeling “genuine surprise”, again, I recommend reevaluating your assumptions…

        The last 10 first round pick position players, according to TCT, are:
        T. Stephenson

        Stubbs and perhaps Phil Ervin are the only guys on that list who might list speed or defense as a strength out of the draft. How that list makes you think that Jose Peraza is the ‘typical’ Reds target is beyond me. Blandino fits in perfectly with that list, in guys judged in the draft to have strong hit tools. I watch the same team as you, and see a team valuing guys with good hit tools (not that those necessarily pan out) and defensive versatility (or catchers). There’s probably a correlation between being a fast runner and being versatile, while slow guys get limited to a corner.

        With concerns about Blandino’s arm I suspect a future of SS Peraza, 2b Blandino, and 3b Suarez, but that’s a minor note. As another minor note, the article incorrectly says 2016 is Phillips’ last year, while he’s signed through 2017… which I guess works in favor of your 3b prediction.

        • To address the minor note first, I’m working under the assumption that Phillips will be traded this season (flawed assumption I know), so yes, you’re right–2018 is more likely.

          I don’t know where you think I found my initial hypothesis to be false? And I do cite an ESPN article (note: not part of RLN) that pretty clearly states the Reds do not highly value traditional analytics. Nowhere do I say the Reds hate OBP, rather I’m of the opinion that they value other tools (power, RBI, good defense) far more than they do plate discipline, hence the surprise that they took a player presumably plagued by the Stanford Swing–a technique that goes against their perceived organizational beliefs.

  4. I personally think saurez will stick at 3b. Peraza should start year off in AAA, then bring him up when they trade cozart at the deadline. Since we’re stuck with Phillips, I think its only natural that blandino takes over for him in 2018 if not earlier. At least this is how the reds would hope it plays out. Although injuries could change it all very quickly.

  5. Blandino is an intriguing prospect. If by some chance he can play SS decently than the Reds are really onto something. Personally, I see him as a 2B and I think his bat will really play there. I like Blandino for all the more old-school reasons. The kid is just a ballplayer. He has no exceptional tool but all his tools profile as solid to above average. He apparently has good makeup to go with it. I think there is a real good chance he has a very good MLB career. I’m not sure he’ll be Jed Lowerie (who can play SS, albeit not very well) but that’s not a bad comp in my opinion. I think he’s that kind of player.

  6. Nice piece on Blandino. I learned a couple things about Blandino. He will be an integral part of the Reds future.
    The nice thing about Blandino, Peraza, and Suarez is they all can play those non-Votto INF positions if needed. That versatility is real value.
    But Wesley, you must be the eternal optimist, in saying that BP will be gone after the 2016 season. He is dug into the Reds roster like a tick on a mangy dog. I hope you are correct.

  7. Wow. Alfredo Simon don’t need no stretching out. Sorry about the double negative. Sheldon reports that Simon pitched to 9 batters and recorded 9 outs, 9 up and 9 down through 3 innings. Don’t know if he will pitch more. But this is against a good Cubs lineup. Not bad.

    • Amazing to see what a guy who’s been there and done this can do as opposed to talented kids just learning the ropes. Then again maybe Price recalled how good Reed’s night looked yesterday before he went out for the 4th and decided at this point an inning early with positive vibes was the way to go.

  8. For all the people using strong rhetoric above, I want to remind you of something.

    The writers on this site are unpaid volunteers. I don’t know Wesley’s personal situation, but I have a full-time job, a wife, and a newborn. I don’t have a lot of extra time, but I’ve decided to spend some of it writing for RLN this year. If people enjoy the articles, cool! If not, that’s fine also.

    We may not always have the time to analyze something perfectly with the amount of detail we’d like, and sometimes we may miss something. But, I assure you there is no RLN conspiracy and we don’t write “hit pieces.” If we didn’t love the Reds, we wouldn’t be here.

    We’re just fans writing about baseball because we think it is fun. It’s cool (and encouraged) to disagree, but I think you guys are being fairly harsh for a free site staffed by volunteer writers.

    • I love that the writer here actually make a point and take a side. If you want pointless drivel, try the Enquirer. It’s so much more interesting to from hear fans, not “hit pieces” from some Guy from Pittsburgh.

    • Good point, well taken, Patrick. I’m very appreciative of all of you guys who take the time to do the research and the sriting. I don’t always agree, but I’m always appreciative.

    • [deleted for violating site commenting guidelines]

      • Meh, I think you might have some entrenched bias of your own if you’re suggesting that RLN, as a whole, has a sense of group think. I’m seeing way different opinions from each contributor and even disagreement among them, to think that they have a unified editorial slant.

        You had some good points though on Wesley’s post. I would tend to think that there is a case to be made for looking harder at the Red’s scouting and signing philosophy based on what Wesley found rather than suggesting that the Reds strayed from his hypothesized set of beliefs.

        • [deleted for violating site commenting guidelines]

        • But you only have to go so far as to distinguish this site, which is not journalism, but rather fan-oriented and amateur (albeit high quality) content. To expect contributors to use professional journalism standards or just post facts is unfair and is missing the point. Plenty of other sources to go to if you just want the cold-hard facts and no opinions or editorialism. For me, the attraction to this site is the mix of opinions and compelling analysis.

          All that said, if a writer gives his opinion, it is fair game to question his assumptions and conclusions. You’ve done a good job of that in your responses. I just wouldn’t attack the concept that he/she is offering an opinion.

        • To respond to your point above that there is a prevailing sentiment of negativity, I guess my response would be, there is plenty to be negative about given what has transpired the last several seasons. It’s natural for fans (including RLN writers) to respond more negatively.

          Agree with you though that there are some positive aspects to look at too. I for one, think that the club’s scouting department has done a great job the last decade and really does not seem to bear any blame in the Red’s recent misfortunes. Chris Buckley and company may be the major reason why the team will eventually return to its winning ways again.

          Just going out on a limb here, but if you desired to contribute your own posts offering a different take on the Red’s state of affairs, Steve and Chad would certainly welcome you with open arms.

        • [deleted for violating site guidelines]

      • I think you need to keep in mind that writers are still allowed to have opinions. If a writer states that the Reds have an “anti-OBP bias,” as an example, you shouldn’t automatically equate that to fact. It’s an opinion. If a writer does present it as fact, then yes, you have the right as a reader to demand proof of that “fact.” But I don’t think that’s what was done here.

        Overall, your point is taken. A big part of sabermetrics is challenging what we think we know and trying to quantify our thoughts. However, just because most of the RLN writers are of the opinion that the Reds FO is behind the times, doesn’t mean that there is an institutional bias.

    • Well said, Patrick. I think the vast majority of us appreciate, and marvel, at the amount of work each of the writers put into this site, not to mention the quality of the content. My guess is that TCT, RFM, and others appreciate it too but from time to time we get a little too passionate in expressing our points of view. Not to suggest that anything these guys were saying was offensive or approaching a violation of TOS and they actually had some valid points. Just that it is easy to lose perspective.

  9. I am missing something here, too. The general scouting consensus was that Blandino would be cursed by the “Stanford Swing,” but the Reds (knowing about the curse of the Stanford Swing) took him, anyway. That tells me that the Reds’ scouts saw something that led them to believe that his swing was atypical for a Stanford guy. Traditional scouting, then, served the purpose that it is supposed to fill–experience eyes looked at Blandino and projected what he could do in the future. In other words, the analytics would say “no, Stanford guys don’t pan out, per the numbers,” but the scouts look at him and say “his swing is bit different and he will likely pan out.”

    We may be overthinking this. The Reds likely liked his stats; liked his competitive level and makeup; liked his swing and other skills, and took him.

    Now, go get some international guys.

    • I actually argue that Blandino is a classic reds draft pick. Not based on stats, which the Reds guys ignore, but based on him being one of the better hitting prospects in a draft very deep in pitchers. I think they panicked that all the hitters would be taken later, so they grabbed him early. Stubbs was a very similar pick and Ervin to some degree too. What stinks is that they took Howard first, when he would likely have been available at the Blandino pick. Who should we have taken? The Zimmer kid from Cleveland (who they would not trade for Frazier). That would be better value.

  10. OBP may seem like some latter day insight, but look at the Reds 1972-1975 teams, and the OBP of Rose and Morgan. In 1972, they both had an OBP over 0.400. Do you think Old Sparky realized that when he put them at the top of the line-up?
    Everything old is new again, and the overall Sabremetrics certainly tries to compile more insightful stats about players to find hidden value, But OBP, OPS and BA (yes batting average) tell a lot about a player. Low strikeout to walk ratio is nice, but some guys will strikeout and still generate a good slugging percentage, which contributes to OPS.

  11. I liked this piece

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