Hailing from the Pennsylvania high school ranks, Blankenhorn was a three-sport athlete when the Twins took him in the third round of the 2015 Draft and signed him for $650,000. The left-handed-hitting infielder has moved methodically through the lower levels of the Twins system, but had his most consistent season in 2019, reaching Double-A for the first time and earning a spot on the 40-man roster.
Double-A Pensacola is not a great place for left-handed hitters to swing the bat, but Blankenhorn didn’t seem to mind the adjustment at all, with his raw power showing up in games more than it had at any point previously in his career, though 11 of his 18 homers at the level did come on the road. He’s an aggressive hitter who does strike out a good amount, though his K rate did improve a bit in 2019, allowing him to get to that raw power more. He might be power over hit, but if he can maintain his current K/BB level, or improve it a bit, he should be just fine as an offensive performer.
It’s been a little tougher projecting where Blankenhorn fits defensively. He began his career at third, then shuttled between the hot corner and second for a few seasons. In 2019, he played mostly second with a bunch of left field, a spot he’ll get more time at in 2020. He’s made strides with the glove, but it’s his bat that will get him to the big leagues.
Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 50 | Run: 45 | Arm: 50 | Field: 45 | Overall: 45
Blankenhorn was an outstanding athlete in high school, one who played three sports in Pennsylvania. The Twins hoped that would translate well when he focused on baseball only as a pro after they took him in the third round of the 2015 Draft. But after a solid 2017 season in the Midwest League, Blankenhorn struggled with a move to the Florida State League in 2018, particularly in the second half, then scuffled in the Arizona Fall League.
Blankenhorn is still young enough and has shown enough glimpses with his left-handed swing to give hope he can figure things out at the plate. There is some power there and especially when he got into that second-half funk, his overall approach regressed. While he is a solid athlete, it hasn't translated to his defensive game consistently as the Twins continue to try to find the right spot for him on the diamond. He's played a lot of third and second base thus far in his career and started to mix in some left field in 2018. Look for him to see more time there and at second in the future.
After last year's struggles, Blankenhorn needs to hit the reset button. Improved plate discipline and/or finding a way for him to leverage his swing to access more power will be a focus for him moving forward.
Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 50 | Run: 45 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
A three-sport standout from the Pennsylvania high school ranks, Blankenhorn has made steady progress since the Twins took him in the third round of the 2015 Draft. That includes an All-Star nod for his first full year in full-season ball in 2017. A minor back injury kept him from getting bumped up to Ft. Myers at the end of the year, but he's good to go for another step up in 2018.
Blankenhorn has consistently shown the ability to swing the bat from the left side of the plate. He makes loud contact with the ability to drive the ball and an uptick in power in 2017 is a good sign for the future that he could be at least Major League average. A tireless worker, he has improved his overall approach and understands his gameplan at the plate much better than he had when he started. He's a fringy runner, but a strong baserunner and is more athletic than you'd think.
Blankenhorn split time between second and third in 2017 and the Twins would like for him to continue to see time at both infield positions, though that might depends on who is on the roster with him. Regardless of where he plays, it's his offensive development that will help him continue to climb the ladder.
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 40 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
The Twins took Blankenhorn in the third round of the 2015 Draft because their amateur scouts thought his left-handed bat would play at the next level. If the start of his pro career is any indication, it looks like they hit the nail on the head.
Blankenhorn is simply a natural hitter from the left side of the plate. While he's still learning the strike zone and refining his approach, he has tremendous instincts with a very direct swing, one that squares the ball up consistently. As he matures, he should continue to grow into power, with the ceiling to be above average in that department, and left-handed pitching doesn't seem to bother him. Where Blankenhorn profiles best defensively is much more in question. A high school shortstop, Blankenhorn mostly played third during his pro debut, then saw more time at second in 2016. A former standout in football and basketball, Blankenhorn is more athletic than one might think, but he's likely to land at an infield corner or left. The good news is his bat should play in either spot.
The Twins are very excited about Blankenhorn's offensive potential, feeling there's more to come as he physically matures. Some see a future Corey Koskie, who had 25 or more homers twice in his Twins career, as a distinct possibility.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 40 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
Three of the Twins' first five picks in the 2015 Draft were used on college pitchers. The other two were used on high school infielders, Blankenhorn in the third round and Trey Cabbage in the fourth. The eastern Pennsylvania prep product was solid in his pro debut, even getting a bump up from the Gulf Coast League to the Appalachian League and holding his own.
A shortstop in high school, Blankenhorn moved to third immediately after signing with the Twins and he should be able to stay there. He has good hands and an above-average arm, to go along with solid athleticism. That allowed him to move around and play some outfield as they tried to find at-bats for him, Cabbage and Roni Tapia, all of whom play third. Blankenhorn has a nice left-handed swing that should generate power in the future. He gets high marks for his work ethic and makeup.
Blankenhorn could handle a move to an outfield corner permanently if there was the need, but the Twins believe third is the best spot for him. That said, expect him to move around a bit early on as the organization finds playing time for the glut of young players they have at the hot corner.
A left-handed-hitting infielder from eastern Pennsylvania, Blankenhorn had a very good summer on the showcase circuit, playing well at both the East Coast Pro Showcase in Syracuse and the Metropolitan Baseball Classic held at Citi Field in New York. That performance didn't carry over at first to this spring, but he started coming on strong as the spring wore on.
Strong and athletic, Blankenhorn has a solid left-handed swing and a good approach at the plate. There is some raw power to tap into from his frame, though he'll have to make sure he doesn't get too stiff and muscle-bound. A shortstop in high school, he'll likely move to an infield corner, where his above-average arm and solid hands should play well.
Whether Blankenhorn can profile as an everyday corner infielder remains to be seen, but those who see his plus makeup and work ethic won't want to count him out.