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Chasing The Dream: The Justin Bianco Story and Interview

In the early rounds of the 2011 MLB Draft the Arizona Diamondbacks drafted a duo of prospects from the Western Pennsylvania area. Already featured here on Chasing The Dream is one half of that duo, John Leonard. Now we take a look at the other half Justin Bianco as he also begins his journey through the minor leagues to reach his goal of making it to the major leagues.

Justin Bianco: Quick Stats

Team: Arizona Diamondbacks  Twitter: @JustinValentin0 

Height: 5′ 11″, Weight: 195 lb. Born: August 24, 1992 in Venetia, Pennsylvania, US (Age 19)

Drafted:  Arizona Diamondbacks in the 3rd round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft

Favorite Player: Ken Griffey Jr.

Chasing The Dream: The Justin Bianco Story

In the early rounds of the 2011 MLB Draft the Arizona Diamondbacks drafted a duo of prospects from the Western Pennsylvania area. Already featured here on Chasing The Dream is one half of that duo, John Leonard. Now we take a look at the other half Justin Bianco as he also begins his journey through the minor leagues to reach his goal of making it to the major leagues.

Baseball has always been a big part of life in the Bianco family. Starting in 1991, Justin’s father Matt created The Bianco School of Baseball in Western Pennsylvania. That school has been providing training and instruction to youngsters in the region for over twenty years now.  The school has trained a number of players who have went on to be drafted over recent years and has graduated pitchers Kevin Slowey, Zack Jackson, and Scott Patterson to the major leagues.

Bianco with the Osprey (Special thanks to Justin for the picture)

Besides getting instruction at his families facility, Bianco also honed his skills as a member of the Peters Twp. High School baseball team. As a senior at Peters Twp, Bianco dominated competition at the plate batting .581 for the season. In just 74 at bats he drove in 29 runners and tallied 15 extra base hits including 2 home runs. Starting in the outfield for the Indians, Bianco was also perfect in the field finishing the season without making an error.

During his final high school season, Bianco was heavily scouted by many teams around baseball. The scouts who saw the outfielder in action liked his makeup, potential and his tools. One of the teams which liked what they saw in the outfielder was the Arizona Diamondbacks. They selected him early in the 2011 draft making him their third round selection. The next step for Bianco would be to decide if he was ready to go play professional baseball or if he was going to the college ranks as he had previously committed to playing at the University of Pittsburgh. That process would be relatively quick as the speedy outfielder inked a deal with Arizona and was quickly assigned to the Missoula Osprey of the Pioneer League.

With the Osprey, Bianco appeared in 54 games, all at the centerfield position. Bianco played solid defense for the Osprey but struggled at the plate in his first taste of professional baseball. In 199 official at bats, Bianco hit .206 on the season while driving in a total of twenty runners. While 11 of his 41 hits went for extra bases he also struggled striking out 81 times.

As the 2012 season continues the speedy centerfield finds himself in extended spring training with the Arizona Diamondbacks continuing to learn and adjust to the professional game. It is a good bet that he will find himself back in Missoula for the 2012 season looking to build off what he has learned during the first half of the season in extended spring training.

We will be following Justin all throughout 2012 and into the future, you can follow him too on twitter at @JustinValentin0 

 Seven Questions with Justin Bianco

What was it like being drafted? What were you doing at the time and did you do anything to celebrate?
 It was the best feeling in the world without a doubt. Everything I’ve done my entire life working to try to get a chance to be drafted…amazing. Watching from home with my family and had my high school team over to celebrate.
Before the draft where you in contact with a lot of scouts? Did you have a feeling that the Diamondbacks would be the team to take you?
Yes and yes I had a good feeling I could be with the Diamondbacks. 
You had an opportunity to play college baseball at the University of Pittsburgh. Was signing with the Diamondbacks and easy decision and what did they say or do to convince you to go pro?
Yes it was easy once I was drafted but before the draft not knowing when I would go, that was difficult with thinking about playing college vs pro. And no one convinced me but myself because ultimately its no ones decision but my own. I’ve wanted to play in the MLB since a kid so I knew I had to sign. 
Your Dad has not only has operated a Baseball Academy in the Pittsburgh Area for a number of years but also does some scouting for the Colorado Rockies. Having a parent that involved in the game, how has that helped you get to where you are today and how has that prepared yourself for whats ahead?
It’s everything, it’s been my life so it makes everything that much easier for me with every aspect of the game. 
You got a taste of professional baseball playing 54 games for the Osprey last year. What was the biggest difference for you transitioning from High School to the Pro Ranks? 

Adjusting to the pitching, just so much harder and better guys out there throwing. The lifestyle is also very different playing every single day, no breaks, dealing with the grind. 
What is the most memorable moment from your 2011 season with the Osprey? 

Probably being named player of the game for a home game, just the sound of hearing that after the game at our stadium in front of the fans was awesome. 
What are the strengths of your game. What aspects of your game to you hope to improve on? 

If I want to be where my bar is set I need to improve in everything, starting with hitting, after my first half season I played good defense but will need to put up better numbers hitting.

 

A Few For Fun

Favorite baseball player growing up? Favorite non baseball athlete? 

Ken Griffey Jr and Kobe Bryant 
If you could buy any car what would it be? 

Lamborghini 
At this moment, what song would you select for your coming to bat song? 
Donald trump – Mac miller (showing Pittsburgh some love)
A special thanks to Justin Bianco for taking some time out of his schedule to sit down and not only talk a little baseball but to provide us with a photo of him playing with the Missoula Osprey last season. Once again please give him a follow at  @JustinValentin0 and follow us at @CTD_Sypien as we follow Justin and others during the 2012 season.

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3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Bianco, BirdWire and the latest from around the farm … « Bird Droppings
  2. Justin bianco | Bestoptionsnew
  3. Looking Back On 2012 | Chasing The Dream

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