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Twins Daily 2020 Top Prospects: #3 Trevor Larnach

The Twins didn't have a 'need' for Trevor Larnach in the first round of the 2018 draft. The big-league team was brimming with young outfielders at the time, while Brent Rooker was quickly establishing himself in the minors alongside breakout prospect star Alex Kirilloff.

None of that mattered. Because in the MLB Draft, you don't select based on need. Larnach's a perfect example of why.
Image courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Graphic by Brock Beauchamp)
Position: RF
Age: 22 (DOB: 2/26/1997)
2019 Stats (A+/AA): 542 PA, .309/.384/.458, 13 HR, 66 RBI
ETA: 2021
2019 Ranking: 4

National Top 100 Rankings
BA: 45 | MLB: 81 | ATH: 82 | BP: 85

What's To Like

Larnach was one of the hottest collegiate players in the country when Minnesota drafted him, wrapping up a monster season at Oregon State with a beastly performance in the College World Series. After slashing .303/.421/.429 with three home runs in 60 games as a sophomore for the Beavers, the outfielder's power fully blossomed as a junior: 68 games, .348/.463/.652, 19 HR.



That helium factor contributed to Minnesota overlooking its stockpile of bat-first corner guys in the system, snagging Larnach with their first 2018 pick at No. 20 overall. Good call.

Larnach is a refreshingly complete hitter. Many power bats come out of the college ranks with huge holes in their swings and gaudy strikeout totals (see: Rooker) but Larnach achieves excellent strike zone coverage and can drive the ball to all fields. He has struck out in only 21% of his pro plate appearances while batting ~.300 or better at every stop dating back to his sophomore year at Oregon State.



Among qualified hitters in the Florida State League, where Larnach spent much of 2019 before a mid-July promotion to Double-A, his .316 average ranked No. 1 (the second-best mark was .298, which tells you something about the challenging FSL hitting environment), as did his OPS, wOBA, wRC+, and any other hitting metric you might invoke. He was simply transcendent.

He didn't slow down much after heading to Pensacola. In the Southern League, Larnach posted an identical .842 OPS overall, gradually finding his groove after a slow start and slashing .324/.417/.479 in his final 20 games.

For the season, Larnach led all Twins minor leaguers in hits, appropriately earning himself Minor League Hitter of the Year honors from both Twins Daily and the Twins themselves. At 6-foot-4 and 220 lbs, the strong-armed lefty swinger has all the attributes of a prototypical brawny right field staple.

What's Left To Work On

A major power surge in his junior year is what solidified Larnach's status as a first-round pick, but that pronounced pop hasn't yet carried over to the pros. Don't get me wrong, a .468 slugging percentage through 169 minor-league games is nothing to scoff at, but a .149 ISO and 18 total home runs are lower than you'd expect from a guy with his size, scouting grades, and overall production.

His trouble? Turning on the ball.

Last June, even as he tore up the FSL, Larnach told the Star Tribune's LaVelle E. Neal III: "Since the offseason I’ve been doing everything I can to get this inside pitch down, and I’m getting better at it." But he added, “I’m not where I want to be."

A look at his XBH spray chart below (courtesy MiLB.com) reflects a hitter who is extremely adept at launching to the opposite field and to straightaway center, but is less forceful on the pull side. Indeed, MiLB.com's Sam Dykstra notes that Larnach's 41.2% pull rate in 2019 was fifth-lowest among qualified Minnesota minor leaguers.




Attached Image: larnachspray.jpg


To be clear, this offensive profile is not a negative. Some of the greatest batsmen in the game are defined by their ability to hit a pitch where it's thrown. But as any Joe Mauer cynic will tell you, power output can suffer when one isn't able to aggressively punish those mistakes on the inner half.

Larnach's overall mastery at the plate overshadowed any shortcomings in the XBH column, but when it comes to bat-handling and discipline, Joe Mauer he is not. He's also a pure corner guy in the field, so the same thing I wrote about our No. 9 prospect Rooker applies here: lower defensive value necessitates higher offensive value. If Larnach is to pan out as the upper-tier MLB outfielder we hope, standout power will be a necessary ingredient in the equation.

He fared well in his first turn at Double-A, but from here on out, pitchers will only become more and more prone to attack his weaknesses. Can Larnach get where he wants to be with that down-and-in pitch?

What's Next?

This spring, Larnach is officially in Twins camp as a non-roster invite. A year ago, he was called over from the minor-league side for a Grapefruit League game at Hammond Stadium, and I'm pleased to say I was sitting right next to Seth Stohs in the press box when he caught this moment on film:



It's fair to presume Larnach will make a fine impression in his more extended action this spring. But regardless, he is billed to open in the minors – probably back at Pensacola. With a strong start, he can earn a promotion to Rochester where he'd be reunited with his Cedar Rapids manager Toby Gardenhire.

Then, it becomes a matter of a spot opening up for him at the big-league level. Nothing awaits in the immediate offing, but Larnach may well prove to be the type of player worth making room for, even if they don't have a "need" for him.

Twins Daily 2020 Top 20 Prospects
Honorable Mentions
20. Jose Miranda, 3B/2B
19. Cole Sands, RHP
18. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/LF
17. Misael Urbina, OF
16. Edwar Colina, RP
15. Matt Canterino, RHP
14. Matt Wallner, OF
13. Wander Javier, SS
12. Gilberto Celestino, OF
11. Lewis Thorpe, LHP
10. Blayne Enlow, RHP
9. Brent Rooker, OF
8. Keoni Cavaco, SS
7. Ryan Jeffers, C
6. Jhoan Duran, RHP
5. Jordan Balazovic, RHP
4. Brusdar Graterol, RHP
3. Trevor Larnach, OF
Check back tomorrow for #2!

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12 Comments

Only issue seems to be where he's going to play given Kepler's status for many more years and other OF's we have in the pipeline.

 

Seems like he could be a very valuable trade piece in a future SP deal.

    • mikelink45 and JoshDungan1 like this

I think Larnach is the most likely of the prospects to end up panning out... I can see him replacing Rosario in 2021, and becoming a mainstay in the lineup. I'd rather not trade him unless he's part of a package to get a bona fide #1 starter.

    • Dman, ChrisKnutson, JoshDungan1 and 3 others like this

 

I think Larnach is the most likely of the prospects to end up panning out... I can see him replacing Rosario in 2021, and becoming a mainstay in the lineup. I'd rather not trade him unless he's part of a package to get a bona fide #1 starter.

Totally agree.I feel like we underappreciated Rosario here at TD overall, but quite simply his cost is quickly surpassing his production while Larnach will likely have a VERY NICE cost/production ratio come 2021!

    • birdwatcher, JoshDungan1 and KurtSuzuki'sRedHat like this
That’s a simple swing, “long in the zone” and no extraneous motion. I would prefer to see that swing in a Twins uniform rather than traded away, unless it’s for an ace.

100% w previous posters on path forward.
    • birdwatcher and wabene like this

In the discussions so far there is both Kepler and Rosario in front of him, but in reality your next batter - Kiriloff is truly the one in front of him.Since none of these players is a CF it comes down to the corners, especially now that Sano is at 1B.This also emphasizes that Rooker is the next to follow Raley in a trade since he has too many young bats in his way and no place to play.Even if Cruz moves on and DH opens I do not see them filling it with a young player. 

 

Since I have a different sense of what makes a prospect rank high I would also say that I would have three pitchers ahead of him on the list, but I know the TD system so I am fine with what you are doing and I am enjoying it. 

 

Good luck Larnach.

Larnach is definitely proof that you should draft talent over need in baseball. Being long in OFs is just fine, and you can always trade prospects to address need later. So get the best guy you can. Larnach looks terrific: high floor with a nice ceiling, projects to be an above average corner OF with all-star potential, depending on how his D holds up and his power progresses.

 

The power progression is going to be interesting. He's got solid pop now but he's more a doubles guy right now than a big masher. I just hope that plussing up the home run stroke doesn't lead to bushels of additional Ks. If he can add another 50 pts of SLG% while keeping that k rate where it is, he's going to be a complete hitter. As much as I recognize the importance of hitting home runs and power production, I think hitting for average is getting to be an under-valued skill and it's really nice to have a few .300 hitters sprinkled all over the lineup.

 

Very nice player. Good development path. Really puts the Twins in a good position if an OF gets hurt, gets too expensive, or they have an opportunity to add a really high impact player to try and win the title.

    • birdwatcher and PopRiveter like this
Photo
jorgenswest
Feb 17 2020 10:29 AM
It is reasonable to be concerned about the power and ISO.

Does he profile like Brian Anderson of the Marlins? His ISOs did not stand out in the minors until AAA. He Is not a pull hitter. Anderson has more positional value that gave him the opportunity to have his break out season last year at 26.

Larnach needs more time in the minors. It might be year 3 in the majors before we see that break out but I think he will be a good major league hitter.

Can a contending team afford the patience he might need at the major league level? Does his value diminish if he comes to the majors and struggles? I think he is a relative sell high this year and hope a good healthy start in AA makes him a very desired player at the deadline.

Our rankings: 

 

Seth: 3

Nick: 4

Tom: 4

Cody: 3

One of Larnach or Kirilloff should be moved at the deadline for some pitching. Take advantage of the prospect value. I personally believe Kirilloff is the better hitter and player long term. But if he was the deciding factor to land you high end pitching l. I’d be happy with Larnach in LF.
MLB draft should always be taking the best player available and twins have done a good job of that. With pitching at a premium they are always more valuable.
    • wabene likes this

You can never assume that your depth will hold up for outfielders over the near term.Plus, Nelson Cruz is an older player who is in the last year of his deal with the Twins so the DH position eventually will open up too.

 

 

Have warmed to Larnach since he was drafted.Now see him as potentially becoming a good player, very good.  

 

As the Twins are constructed right now, the only position I see for him is left field as Kepler will likely be here a long time.As much as I believe in Rosario as both a player and heart and soul of this team, it is logical that he is the player Larnach will replace.The Twins are gonna have to find some savings in their budget someplace and Larncach replacing an ever more expensive Rosario could be a big savings.Doubt this will happen this summer, more likely next winter or even the 2021 trade deadline.

 

As for Kirilloff, I see him as their future first baseman with Sano moving to part time first base and DH after Cruz is gone in 2021 or 2022.

 

 

If Buxton gets injured again Kepler could move to CF. We might need all these guys.

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