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Recent Blogs


Trevor Larnach Homers in First MLB Spring At-Bat

Trevor Larnach entered the game as the left fielder for the Twins in the seventh inning. Earlier today, he was down on the back fields, taking batting practice off of Twins minor league coach Takashi Miyoshi. He was spraying balls around the diamond in a work group that included fellow top prospects Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, Jose Miranda and others.

He had an at-bat in the big-league spring training game in the afternoon that people will, and should, be talking about.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily
Fast-forward to the bottom of the seventh inning. Larnach came to bat second in the inning. Nelson Cruz made out to lead off the inning. Larnach stepped to the plate against hard-throwing right-hander Tanner Rainey.

The 26-year-old right-hander made his major-league debut last year for the Reds. Larnach worked the at-bat. He watched a 96-mph fastball. He fouled-off a 98 mph heater. With the count full, he got another fastball, and he didn’t miss it.

Larnach barreled up the ball and hit an opposite field blast that landed in the netting in left centerfield. The ball bounced back into the field of play.

Larnach rounded the bases with a home run in his first at-bat of major league spring training.

And I called it. No, really, I did. Ask the guy sitting next to me!



One year ago, Larnach was beginning his junior season at Oregon State. By season’s end, he had made himself into a clear first-round pick. He led the Beavers to the 2018 College World Series championship.

I was fortunate to catch up with Larnach at Twins Fest and he talked about the culture of baseball at Oregon State.

“What they instill over there is a lot of culture stuff with teammates and building bonds and caring about your team more than yourself. When you have that kind of culture set at a certain standard, regardless if you’re at a practice or in a game, you’re always working to get better, but you’re working to reach a goal with your teammate because you’ve built such an awesome bond. I was fortunate to learn that from them and to experience that, and now I can bring that in here and kind of maybe instill that kind of a culture with an organization.”

Larnach had been drafted in the 40th round of the 2015 draft out of high school in California but decided college was the right route for him. It was a good choice.

“It was tempting. I was hurt at the time. I had an arm problem. I think in high school for my bat, obviously. They were just wondering what was happening with my arm. I figured if I was hitting pretty well and had an arm injury and they were still interested in the 3rd or 4th round or so, I just thought that in my case college would be a lot better because you get to knock some school out, experience one of the best parts of your life over there, and experience the culture talk that I just mentioned. There was some interest, but I was college all the way.”

In a second at-bat, Larnach grounded out to second base off of JJ Hoover.

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On Thursday morning, the Twins optioned RHP Zack Littell to AAA Rochester. As I noted on Twitter on Wednesday, he pitched one inning for the "Cedar Rapids" team on the back fields that day. It was a quick inning, and he told me Thursday morning that it was just 13 pitches. He had only pitched in one inning in spring training due to some shoulder inflammation, but said that he is now good to go and ready to get stretched out at minor league camp.

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Wander Javier played the entire game for the Twins. He batted ninth and played shortstop. He went 0-for-2 with two walks. He made most of the plays, with one throwing error late in the game.

Posted Image

He has previously played in the late innings of four other games in spring training, but playing the full game today was more meaningfu. Rocco Baldelli came away impressed.

"He’s a talented guy. To see a young player with the combination of skills that can get you excited. An athletic guy with some strength, that can swing the bat and also play in the middle of the field. That’s the type of combination that can result in a really impactful major-league player. And that’s what he is."

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Baldelli was asked what he wants to see when these minor leaguers come over and get the experience in a big-league spring training game.

Baldelli noted, "What I'm looking for is for them to come in and take advantage of the experience and to take as much as they can from it and to learn as much as they can from it. Watch as much as they can. That's more important than anything." He continued, "Yeah, it's good for me to personally lay eyes on them and for the staff to see them on the field, but it's what they're taking out of it that's most important thing. They're all taking advantage of these ABs and these innings and these opportunities and they're doing a really nice job.

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Another guy who took advantage of his opportunity on Thursday was Jacob Pearson. He came to the Twins last offseason in a trade with the Angels for international slot money that was used to sign Shohei Ohtani. He began 2018 in extended spring training, but he was called up on Memorial Day weekend to the Cedar Rapids Kernels and spent the rest of the season in the Midwest League.

Pearson has played in a few spring games already. In the Twins "other" split-squad game today, the Twins beat the Orioles 7-6 in Sarasota, and it was Jacob Pearson who got the game-winning hit.

Pearson said after the game, "I'm basically a kid when I get the text or call that I get to go over to the big league side, super excited." He continued, "I’m ready to go in wherever or whenever the need me. Today was a back and forth game, and I knew i would get an opportunity to hit so I was just going to try to put my best swing on a good pitch. It all happened so quick I didn’t even realize I had a smile on my face."

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9 Comments

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howieramone2
Mar 14 2019 02:19 PM

If the search committee had picked me, I'd be looking to package Larnach and/or Rooker for that mythical ace.

Wow, that's some power. Off the bat, it looked like he got jammed a bit and I would have guessed it was a fly out to left. 

    • Dman likes this

I love it.How encouraging is that for the Kid!  

Wow, that's some power. Off the bat, it looked like he got jammed a bit and I would have guessed it was a fly out to left. 

I was about to jest, "yeah, he'll never get anywhere with that inside-out swing," but I already used my allotment* of satire at this site today.

 

* Or, is THAT the satire?

    • glunn, Mike Sixel and MN_ExPat like this

Kirilloff and Larnach somewhere on the corners.And Lewis and Javier in the middle infield.What an exciting group this foursome is.And there is a lot of very talented guys coming up with them....Let's go Twins!

    • glunn, brvama, bluechipper and 5 others like this
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theBOMisthebomb
Mar 14 2019 04:26 PM
It is great that Larnach is so green that he hits a tater in his first AB... then picks up his own bat and hands it to the batboy. There is a certain charm to it.
    • ashbury, Nick Nelson, glunn and 6 others like this
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Joe A. Preusser
Mar 14 2019 04:42 PM
How did Harper's inning look? Still no runs allowed, but 2 hits today I see?
    • glunn likes this
Larnach, probably, based on age and talent, will be rather fast-tracked. Kirilloff is one of the top prospects in all of baseball and could be ready in 2020. (I always hesitate to play the "this season" game). I think Wade has a chance to be a really nice player, though I still feel he's more of a complimentary 4th OF type. Rooker has real potential, and seems to know how to adapt, though there are a few holes in his game to be answered yet.

Let us assume for a moment Kepler continues to improve and a healthy Buxton begins to at least scratch at his ceiling. Those two and Rosario make up an OF that could very easily be amongst the best in all of baseball. Oh, and Cave had an awfully nice rookie season. (I snicker when people talk about regression for Cave. Couldn't he also learn and improve?)

Not even counting so many talented young OF in the lower levels, the Twins could easily have a logjam of riches for the OF/1B/DH as early as 2020/2021. A nice problem to have!

It's also part of the reason I've never bought in to Lewis...who I really believe will stick at SS...moving to CF. Let's just say Buxton never figures it out. Sucks...but OK. With all the options present and coming up, does that make sense? The future is hard to predict, of course, but it sure seems there are a TON of OF options that Lewis could/should just stay in the infield regardless.

Lewis would appear to be on a fast-track as well. Javier, and Miranda, would appear to be a good year behind. But if Javier is fully healthy and ready to go, he could be a potential top 100 prospect this time next season. That's not my opinion, but the opinion of many others. What if he just turns out to better at SS than Lewis? Do you put Lewis in the OF just because when you have so much talent there, and so many options? Or do you make a left side of your infield a mix of Lewis and Javier? (Possibly moving the talented Miranda out of the picture).

Some have said that would be a waste of Lewis's talent and potential. I ask why? That's like saying a talent like A-Rod or Machado should move to the OF because they could. Really? If the OF talent, and potential, is for real, how would moving Lewis to 3B...IF Javier proves to be the better option...be a detriment to his talents? And you know what, it could work in reverse with Javier taking over 3B. Who ever decided you couldn't have stud athletes playing the left side of your infield?

Things are in motion. We won't be there tomorrow. We're a season or two away from these questions being answered. But there is so much talent, so much potential, so many options even if a couple guys DON'T turn out, that the player situation is going to be very, very interesting over the next couple of seasons.
    • glunn, USNMCPO, Dman and 3 others like this

 

How did Harper's inning look? Still no runs allowed, but 2 hits today I see?

 

That breaking ball is legit. He won't make the opening day roster, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to see him get some time with the Twins this year.

    • blindeke, DocBauer and GP830 like this