Top-100 pick Blankenhorn right at home with Twins
Published 8:25 am Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Minnesota Twins third-round pick Travis Blankenhorn seems to be settling in just fine with the Elizabethton Twins after his move up from the Gulf Coast League just a few weeks ago.
The 18-year old third baseman has already recorded his first home run of his young professional career, which came on July 21 against Princeton at Joe O’Brien Field. He then followed that up with another home run against Kingsport just four days later. The Pottsville, Pa., native, who will move from shortstop to third base, credits some the improvements in his swing to Elizabethton batting coach Jeff Reed.
“The coaching staff is unbelievable,” Blankenhorn said. “They are a lot of help, and I know that Jeff has already helped me a lot with my hitting and making me feel more comfortable in the box.”
But some of the things that he does at the plate come natural, which might be one of the reasons the Twins made him the 80th overall pick in the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft.
The high slot wasn’t really a surprise to Blankenhorn, who turned down a baseball scholarship to the University of Kentucky to sign with the Twins organization, and he seems to be just as cool about the high expectations that accompany a top-100 pick.
“I don’t feel that (pressure) at all,” he said. “I just feel like I’m another player on the team. I am going to try and take it one day at a time and try to get better each day and learn something new every day.”
He seems to be doing just that as he has accounted for six RBIs and is batting .300 at the plate. Part of that comfort at the plate could be connected to the comfort that he has with his current team.
“It’s definitely been a fun experience,” Blankenhorn said. “My teammates have been good to me. They make me feel like I am a part of the team and they make me feel at home, so it’s been a good experience.”
Blankenhorn shouldn’t have much trouble adjusting to his new position, as he seemed to do just fine adjusting to different positions on multiple fields in high school. During his senior season at Pottsville High School, Blankenhorn scored 440 points on a basketball team that went 28-1. A year before that he was named all-conference in football at both the wide receiver and defensive back position, which he started since he was a freshman.
But now all of his focus is on baseball on the places that he wants to go.
So far he is in his second stop on his way to the majors, and the transition hasn’t been too difficult for the righty.
“I think competition here may be a little better, these guys are a little older, college guys,” said Blankenhorn of the Appalachian League compared to the GCL. “The pitchers throw hard down there and they throw hard here, so it isn’t too different.”
This week he will get his first taste of the rivalry between two teams that sit just a few miles away from each other, as the Twins will host the Johnson City Cardinals for three straight days. First pitch each night is at 7 p.m.