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Blankenhorn drives in 4 as adjustments pay off

MLB.com @wboor

MESA, Ariz. -- Travis Blankenhorn has been tinkering with his swing throughout the Arizona Fall League season, and the adjustments paid dividends in Salt River's 14-4 win over Mesa on Tuesday at Sloan Park.

"I'm trying to stay, load, on my backside a little more instead of getting out in front so much," said Blankenhorn, the Twins' No. 18 prospect. "So I tried to focus on that today."

MESA, Ariz. -- Travis Blankenhorn has been tinkering with his swing throughout the Arizona Fall League season, and the adjustments paid dividends in Salt River's 14-4 win over Mesa on Tuesday at Sloan Park.

"I'm trying to stay, load, on my backside a little more instead of getting out in front so much," said Blankenhorn, the Twins' No. 18 prospect. "So I tried to focus on that today."

Blankenhorn went 3-for-4 with four RBIs -- a total he reached only once during the Minor League season -- in his best game of the AFL campaign thus far.

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After Tuesday, Blankenhorn is hitting .229 with six RBIs and two multi-hit efforts through 11 games.

2018 Arizona Fall League rosters

However, the 22-year-old isn't focused on the numbers, but rather his offensive approach, something he got away from late in the season with Class A Advanced Fort Myers.

After hitting .270/.329/.447 in the first half, Blankenhorn fell into a rut and hit .194/.272/.333 in the second half.

"I think I was striking out a lot more in the second half," Blankenhorn said. "I got away from the game plan in the second half, so getting back to focus here is going to be big for me."

So far, Blankenhorn has employed a much better approach and has drastically reduced his strikeouts. He struck out in more than 30 percent of his plate appearances during the second half of the year with Fort Myers and has cut that down to 17 percent in the AFL thus far.

"I feel like I'm having a decent Fall League," Blankenhorn said. "I don't feel down. My numbers may not be there, but I don't think that's showing how I'm playing. I feel like I'm playing pretty well, so I'm happy with it."

The third-round pick from the 2015 Draft was a big part of Salt River's win. In the second inning, Blankenhorn drove in the first run of the game via an RBI single on a ball that he initially thought would be a home run. However, he had to settle for a single so he didn't pass the baserunner ahead of him.

Mesa tied the game in the bottom of the second, but Blankenhorn again put the Rafters in front with a sacrifice fly in the third. Salt River pulled away in the middle innings, but Blankenhorn had a nice finish to the game, hitting an RBI single in the eighth.

"I think I've learned a lot from the Fall League," Blankenhorn said. "Just learning myself a little better, a little better luck today."

Marlins No. 2 prospect Monte Harrison also had a big day and showed off his entire toolset. The 23-year-old went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs scored, also missing a grand slam by only a few feet. Harrison, who is hitting .319 in the AFL, also showed off his speed with a triple and two stolen bases. He put his 70-grade arm on display in right field, retiring a runner that was trying to advance to third in the first.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

Minnesota Twins