Sports

Cincinnati Reds draft Stanford's Blandino in first round

Stanford junior third baseman Alex Blandino was taken with the 29th overall pick in the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Cincinnati Reds, as announced live on MLB Network Thursday night.

Blandino becomes Stanford's fourth different player selected in the first round over the last four years, joining Mark Appel (2012, '13), Stephen Piscotty (2011) and Chris Reed (2010).

Cincinnati drafted Blandino as a shortstop, although he has started all 58 games at third base for the Cardinal.

"He deserves that," Cardinal coach Mark Marquess said of his first-round selection. "I know they like his power and his defense."

Blandino has said he will not think about the draft until Stanford's baseball season comes to an end.

The Palo Alto native is a main reason Stanford is .0002 off the program's fielding percentage record set in 2005. His often highlight-reel worthy play earned him a spot on this year's Pac-12 All-Defensive Team.

Blandino has been a staple in Stanford's order over the past three seasons, starting 139 games since joining the Cardinal in 2012.

He has hit 28 home runs in his career, including eight during a freshman campaign in which he was named a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball. After hitting .268 as a sophomore, Blandino bounced back to become one of the most feared power hitters in the Pac-12 in 2014.

The right-handed slugger enters Friday's Nashville Super Regional opener with a .312 batting average, 12 home runs and 42 RBI in 58 games. He ranks second in the conference in homers and has totaled more long balls than three teams in the conference.

Blandino was selected in the 38th round of the 2011 draft by the Oakland Athletics, before deciding to attend Stanford.

— Stanford Athletics

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