Puckett’s Pond presents our Top 20 Minnesota Twins prospects. At #20 is Travis Blankenhorn
Honorable Mentions #20: Travis Blankenhorn
Blankenhorn was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft by the Minnesota Twins. He’s from Pottsville, Pennsylvania and was an excellent all-around athlete in high school. He played shortstop at Pottsville High but it looks he’ll end up at the hot corner. According to Twins scouting director Deron Johnson, “He’s a strong, powerful kid. We really like his swing and think he has chance for power.”
He was committed to the University of Kentucky but a $650,000 signing bonus changed his mind. The bonus was below the slot value for his draft position but Blankenhorn was just eager to get his professional career started.
Name: Travis Blankenhorn
Position: 3B Age: 19
Height: 6’1” Weight: 195 lbs.
Throws: Right Bats: Left
Acquired: 3rd Round Draft pick in 2015
Having just graduated, Blankenhorn headed down to Florida to join the GCL Twins. He played 14 games there and had 6 singles, 4 doubles, 2 triples, 7 walks and 2 steals in 59 plate appearances. He was then promoted to Elizabethton to face some stiffer competition. The Appalachian League proved to be a challenge for the teenager. In 158 plate appearances, he hit for roughly the same average but had the same number of extra base hits and his strikeout rate suffered. He was able to collect his first three professional home runs with Elizabethton. He slashed .244/.321/.347 in 2015
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Over both levels in 2015, he spent a few games at first, short, left field and designated hitter but the bulk of his reps came at third. For the E-Twins, he only played third (36 games) and DH’d three games. Travis didn’t make an error with the GCL Twins but made 7 at third with Elizabethton. Overall his fielding percentage was .924 at third.
Baseball America rated Blankenhorn as the best pure hitter that the Twins drafted in 2015. They noted his “Solid bat speed and a short, simple swing.” Blankenhorn’s bat has yet to break though but of course, it’s very early in his professional career. His defence is also a work in progress.
Fellow third baseman and fellow 2015 draftee for the Minnesota Twins, Trey Cabbage will be vying with Blankenhorn for at bats as they progress through the system. However, at the moment, Blankenhorn has the advantage. He fared better statistically in his first professional season and has stayed healthy. Cabbage struggled to a .571 OPS and went down with a back injury last season. Blankenhorn will likely end up in Cedar Rapids to begin 2016.
Our writers had a strong consensus that Travis belonged in the top 20—only one ranked him lower. Blankenhorn will continue to develop, add strength and gain experience. A few facets of his game remain unpolished but he is, at this point, the club best third base prospect. The majors are a long way off but Travis has the tools he needs to get there someday.