Excited and ambitious: Interview with Pirates #30 prospect Tony Blanco Jr.

I got to ask the Pirates 30th-ranked prospect, Tony Blanco Jr., some questions. Check out what he had to say:
St. Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates
St. Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

Tony Blanco Jr is the Pirates' 30th-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline. He is 19 years old and is playing in his third year with the Pirates organization. The Pirates signed him as a 17-year-old in the 2022 international signing period. Blanco was a decent hitter in the Dominican Scout League during 2022 and 2023. This year, he was promoted to the Florida Complex League and has gotten off to a very strong start.

Through eight FCL games, Blanco has a .360 batting average with a home run and three runs batted in. He also has an OPS of .993, which includes an on-base percentage of .433 and a slugging percentage of .560. His wRC+ is solid at 157 and his strikeout percentage sits at 26.7%.

This start is very impressive for a 19-year-old. A lot of his success at the plate has come from working on specific things this off-season to improve at the plate.

Blanco stated, "I worked more on my batting to use all of the field and also changed my way of batting."

His new approach at the plate has him ranked inside MLB Pipeline's Top 30 prospects as the #30 prospect. He was unranked in the 2023 prospect rankings, but after Jared Jones graduated from being a prospect, Blanco hopped in. Being ranked as a top prospect means a lot to him.

"It feels good to be a Top-30 prospect and keep working hard to stay in," said Blanco.

Being part of the Pirates organization is special for Blanco. His favorite part has been the development. The trainers have been great at helping Blanco improve and progress.

"The development part is very good," Blanco said about his favorite thing about the Pirates organization. "The Pirates' trainers have helped the most in development."

Playing in the Major Leagues is a dream for Blanco and he also wants to bring a championship to Pittsburgh. He wants to have a winning future in the Pirates organization.

Blanco stated, "I don't know my future, the one who knows is God, but I would like to go up to the big leagues and win a championship."

Blanco has been involved in various big-time games throughout his career. His most memorable moment came in 2023, when the Dominican Summer League Pirates took down the Phillies' affiliate team in the semi-finals.

"Last year in the DSL semi-final, I hit a home run to leave the Phillies on the field and then went to the final," said Blanco about his favorite moment during his professional career.

This walk-off home run in the semi-finals advanced them to the finals. Although they ultimately lost to the Dodgers in the finals, they fought in every game of that three-game series.

Tony Blanco Jr. is a name to watch out for in the future. He is a young outfielder who is off to a great start in the Florida Complex League. Keep an eye out for the Pirates' 30th-ranked prospect.