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MLB International Free Agent Profile: Shortstop Kennew Blanco

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Nick Prasad
2 months ago
There is a wide scope of incredible talent in the international free agent pool for 2024. The majority of these prospects have verbal agreements or expectations to sign with a specific club upon eligibility, but this does not mean it’s a guaranteed deal. 
The Toronto Blue Jays have somewhat identified their international prospect target. He’s a 16-year-old shortstop from Barquisimeto, Venezuela by the name of Kennew Blanco, among the youngest players in this year’s selection pool and ranks ninth on MLB Pipeline’s list of top international prospects.
“One of the youngest players in the 2024 international class, Blanco impresses evaluators with his competitive streak and work ethic. The Venezuelan teen comes from a very athletic family and has the skill set to impact the game on both sides of the ball. He trains with Jose Luis Montero, a member of MLB’s Trainer Partnership Program.
Blanco displays a loose stroke at the dish that enables him to spray the ball to all fields. His upper and lower half sync up extremely well, and when combined with his toe-tap gather, he’s in a sound position to consistently do damage. His combination of impressive bat speed and good swing decisions leaves open the possibility that there is even more power to unlock down the road as he gains more experience.”
Blanco is listed at 6’2”, 160lbs and does everything from the right side. Makeup-wise, Blanco is still very raw and youthful. His athletic makeup versus his age shows projection and promises room for development. He’s skinny-athletic build from top to bottom, showing workable strength and agility. 
Blanco’s first noticeable attribute is the work done with his feet. His footwork is very raw, however, the way he moves in the hole and on the base pads shows he is a promising, polished defender and a guy to control the running game on the offensive side. He shows a good prep step, moving well to his glove side and backhand to cover good ground. This is followed by a good approach and pick-up of the baseball. He has soft hands, smooth transitioning and follows a strong throw across the diamond.  Blanco’s arm visually shows projection and workability. 
Blanco’s bat also holds weight in his projections. He has a calm-calculated stance, and his swing is timed well, approaching the zone from the inner part of the plate and keeping his hands tight to barrel the ball up the middle. He can work all fields but stays in the hole and straight away center in line-drive fashion. He has good bat speed and a quick trigger to react to the off-speed and breaking pitches. His load and swing are in sync, timed by a toe tap and ended with a good weight transfer. There are a lot of positives to the dish with Blanco. 
The Blue Jays added a young, talented, and athletic shortstop, Arjun Nimmala, with their first-round pick in this summer’s draft, and adding Blanco would give the organization a very interesting duo of infielders for the future. It’s never a bad idea to stock up on tool-baring shortstops that can do the work on both sides of the field. 

ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO

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