CINCINNATI - Cincinnati Reds Senior Director of Amateur Scouting Chris Buckley tonight announced the selections of junior IF Alex Blandino (6-0, 190) from Stanford University with the team's second pick of the 2014 first-year player draft (29th overall as first-round compensation for the signing of free agent Shin-Soo Choo by the Texas Rangers) and junior IF Taylor Sparks (6-4, 210) from the University of California-Irvine in the second round (59th overall).
Blandino, 21, this season for the Cardinal is hitting .312 with 13 doubles, 12 home runs and 42 RBI in 58 starts. He is on the 2014 Gold Spikes Award watch list and was named a pre-season All-America selection by Perfect Game, Baseball America and Louisville Slugger.
Beginning tomorrow, Stanford plays Vanderbilt in the NCAA's Nashville Super Regional.
Sparks, 21, this season for Cal-Irvine is hitting .297 with 14 doubles, 8 triples, 5 home runs, 34 RBI and 7 stolen bases and has been named to the 2014 Capital One Academic All-America third team. He leads the team in doubles and is ranked among the NCAA leaders in triples.
A 3-time Big West scholar-athlete majoring in sociology, Sparks was voted academic all-district earlier this month and was UCI's 2014 Big West Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He also earned Big West Player of the Week honors.
The Anteaters are playing at Oklahoma State in that Super Regional.
The first-year player draft will resume tomorrow and Saturday at 1:00 p.m. ET via conference call. Rounds 3 through 10 will be held tomorrow and Rounds 11-40 on Saturday.