Cincinnati Reds Have Trio of Prospects to Keep an Eye On

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While losing a gold glove defender up the middle of the diamond is never easy, the Cincinnati Reds have their next double play combo making their way through the minors, and they should be ready to debut by the time Brandon Phillips‘ contract is up.

Alex Blandino was originally drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 38th round in 2011 out of St. Francis HS in nearby Mountain View, California but didn’t sign. He was selected again by the Reds in the 1st round of the 2014 Draft and has been progressing through the Cincinnati system ever since.

Blandino split his 2015 campaign between Hi-A Daytona in the Florida State League and Double-A Pensacola in the Southern League, batting a combined .278 with a .364 on-base percentage, 10 homers and 53 runs batted in. Blandino will likely start of 2016 back in Pensacola as he hit just .235 in 30 games with the Blue Wahoos and .175 in the Arizona Fall League. With Phillips under contract through 2017, and an ETA of 2017 for Blandino, there is no real need to rush him to the majors.

If everything works out perfectly for the Reds, Blandino could be ready to begin the 2017 in the big leagues, giving him some time to play with one of the best double-play partners in the game in Phillips. Adjusting the the Major League game isn’t easy for most players, but having a veteran like Phillips should make the process go more smoothly and help in Blandino’s own growth.

Following a similar path has been outfield prospect (#11 overall in the Reds system), Phil Ervin, the Reds first round selection in the 2013 Draft. Ervin also split time between Hi-A and Double-A in 2015, batting a combined .241 with a .346 on-base percentage, adding 14 home runs and 71 RBIs.

Ervin required offseason wrist surgery after the 2014 campaign and it took him some time to get going, as the numbers can attest. In 46 games in the lower levels of the minor leagues in 2013, Ervin hit .331 with a .425 OBP, so 2016 should show us which statistics will be closer to the norm for him–and if he can hit for average as he advances through the ranks of the Cincinnati system. Ervin’s speed is an added tool to his overall decent arsenal as the right-hander has stolen 78 bags in 304 pro games.

FInally, there is Blandino’s future double-play partner in the team’s #8 prospect Blake Trahan. Trahan was taken in the third round of the 2015 Draft, and hit .281 with a .363 OBP in 58 games split between Rookie Ball and Hi-A Ball.

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Both Blandino and Trahan are listed as shortstops, but Trahan is deemed the better fielder of the two, which may lead to Blandino sliding over to second if necessary.

Blandino and Ervin will likely be teammates for much of the remainder of their journeys to The Show, while Trahan will be a step behind after joining the cause last summer.