Mike Bianucci

From BR Bullpen

Michael Elliott Bianucci

BR Minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Slugging minor leaguer Mike Bianucci began his professional career in 2008. He reached Triple-A for the first time in 2012. His brother Tony Bianucci played two seasons in the minors.

Mike was 9-1 with a 2.61 ERA as a high school junior and 7-2 with a 2.42 ERA as a senior, while hitting .526 with 10 home runs. He finished his high school career with a .508 average and 37 steals in 37 tries. He set the Clark Griffith Collegiate Baseball League home run record with 12 the summer before he began college. As a freshman at Auburn, he hit .359/.400/.564 and was named All-Southeastern Conference at DH. He was named a Freshman All-American, as was teammate Luke Greinke; no Auburn duo had been similarly honored before. He hit .326/.427/.640 with 46 runs, 14 homers and 51 RBI in 47 games as a sophomore, tying for 9th in the SEC in home runs and placing in the top 10 in slugging and OPS. He was second-team All-SEC in the outfield. He was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 23rd round of the 2007 amateur draft but did not sign. Returning for his junior year, he produced at a .320/.438/.635 clip with 54 runs and 45 RBI in 56 games. He tied for 7th in doubles (19).

He was then taken by the Texas Rangers in the 8th round of the 2008 amateur draft, one pick before Jeremy Barfield, and did ink a contract. The scout was Jeff Wood.

He displayed his power in limited duty in 2008, slugging .535 in 31 games for the Spokane Indians (he hit .316 with a .386 OBP), but really showed his strength the next year by hitting .288/.353/.561 with 30 home runs and 90 RBI in 122 games split between the Hickory Crawdads (.331/.401/.600 in 72 G) and Bakersfield Blaze (.232/.289/.510 in 50 G). When he went 6-for-6 against the Asheville Tourists April 17, it was the first time a Crawdads player had gotten a six-hit game. He was third in the Rangers chain in RBI (behind Chad Tracy and Mauro Gomez) and led in home runs (two ahead of Gomez). Among all minor leaguers, he tied Shelley Duncan, Joseph Dunigan and Sean Rodriguez for 10th in homers.

He dropped to .258/.309/.433 with 18 home runs for Bakersfield in 2010, however he rebounded in 2011 by hitting 30 home runs in 133 games for the Frisco RoughRiders (.243/.302/.469, 80 R, 89 RBI, 136 K). He was among the Texas League leaders in runs (tied for 6th with Matt Adams), doubles (29, tied for 7th with Jaff Decker, Jonathan Greene and Ben Paulsen), home runs (3rd behind Tim Wheeler and Adams) and RBI (4th behind Adams, Luis Jimenez and Decker). In the Rangers chain, he tied for 5th in runs, was second to Tracy in RBI and led in home runs (four ahead of Tracy).

Moving from the outfield to first base hit 15 home runs in 89 games split between the AZL Rangers (7 for 14, 4 2B, HR, 3 BB) and Round Rock Express (.268/.316/.440 in 84 G) in 2012 while missing time with a hand injury. With the Ponce Lions in the Puerto Rican Winter League, he hit .228/.313/.351 with one homer in 57 AB. In 2013, he hit .281/.353/.536 with 12 home runs in 56 games for the Express. He mostly played DH, with Chris McGuiness at 1B. He batted .222/.281/.457 with 5 HR in 81 AB for the Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League. He tied Dan Black, Audy Ciriaco, Francisco Peguero and Gregory Polanco for third in dingers, behind Yamaico Navarro and Alex Valdez. He was released by the Rangers on April 3, 2014 and signed with the Leones de Yucatan of the Mexican League in May. After seven games there, the Leones traded him to the Acereros del Norte. He spent 17 games with them before being loaned to the Arkansas Travelers in the Los Angeles Angels system. Overall, he batted .269 with 22 home runs and 67 RBI in 86 games. During the winter, he played for the Aguilas de Mexicali, with whom he hit .264/.308/.417 with three home runs and 11 RBI in 19 games.

On June 19, 2015, it was reported that he was suspended 80 games for using performance enhancing drugs. For the Northwest Arkansas Naturals that year, he hit .278/.320/.507 with 12 home runs and 34 RBI. He voluntarily retired on July 24, 2015. At all levels, he hit 152 home runs and had 505 RBI.