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Larnach Leading Rookie for Twins


Ted Schwerzler

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Alex Kirilloff was the Twins first round draft pick in 2016. When the new front office took over, they went with Royce Lewis the next year, and then followed up with Trevor Larnach. Since that point I’ve contended the separation between Kirilloff and Larnach shouldn’t have been presumed to be much. We’re now seeing that take shape.

Kirilloff is playing through an injury, and while he’s having himself a nice debut, I don’t think it’s quite to the level he’ll reach in short order. That’s given way for Larnach to shine though, and he’s done exactly that. Trevor was thrust into a Major League role given the Twins outfield health issues. Having played just three games at Triple-A, and only 43 at Double-A two years ago, a premature call-up is probably fair to suggest.

Despite taking some time to acclimate, he’s begun to settle in. Now with 31 games under his belt, the former Oregon State Beaver owns a .263/.386/.421 slash line. The .807 OPS isn’t all that noteworthy, but the 131 OPS+ plays, and the number that jumps off the page is the .386 OBP backed by a strong 33/14 K/BB.

Larnach hasn’t yet ran into much power. He has just nine extra base hits, of which only three have left the yard. That isn’t to suggest the process isn’t sound, though. Drafted with notes of high exit velocities, that has played out at the highest level. Larnach owns a 37.1% hard hit rate and a 14.5% barrel rate. His xSLG sits 40 points higher at .466 and he owns a max exit velo of 116 mph.

I don’t think you’ll find anyone jumping to suggest that Larnach is otherworldly on either of the corners, but it’s more than apparent he can stick. With the bat profile he has, a traditional corner outfielder with pop is exactly what he’s trending towards. This isn’t a finished product by any means, but I think the Twins have to be thrilled with the early returns. Recently at Fangraphs, Paul Sporer also took a look into where Larnach could go from here.

Both Larnach and Kirilloff should be mainstays in the Minnesota lineup for years to come. We have seen both of them bat in the heart of the order this year, and while that’s more reflective of circumstance, they’ve held their own plenty. In lieu of so many injuries having piled up on the Twins this season, it’s been nice to see opportunity parlayed into production for a guy like Larnach.

Not every prospect comes up and flourishes. The Seattle Mariners just had to demote top prospect Jarred Kelenic after a terrible start. Baseball is hard, and even moreso when the runway for readiness hasn’t been there in a traditional sense. Give it to Larnach for battling that adversity and still producing at the level he is.

While Kirilloff is still my pick to be the better player with a more likely shot to win a batting title, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Larnach round out into a more complete specimen with an opportunity to bang 40 homers in a single season. It’s been a good start, and this is just the beginning.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

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Larnach exudes so much confidence.  I wouldn't say Kirilloff lacks that, exactly, but whenever I see him I feel as though he's wearing his older brother's baseball cap.  Larnach somehow fills out his own hat better. :)

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Larnach never struggled at any level in the minors over a full season, which is why I thought of him as the "safest" prospect in the organization, and it looks like he's taken the promotion well, and he's here to stay. Hitting against MLB pitchers is incredibly difficult and Larnach will surely have some slumps, but I have confidence he will become a cornerstone for the Twins for several years. Here's hoping their pitching prospects can come up and show similar poise and competency that Larnach does.

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What I do not want is for Kepler to come back and bench one of these two players.  I see Kepler in CF (not my favorite either) Celestino sent down and Kiriloff and Larnach surrounding him.  Keep Arraez in the IF.  Let Gordon back them up, then when given the opportunity trade Kepler, hope that Buxton tires of AAA and comes back where he belongs.

 

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I agree, I like both Lanarch & Kiriloff, with Kiriloff having the bigger upside.

I feel the team misses Eddie Rosarios flair & passion, but these two have the skills to replace him and more.

Keller had a great 2019, but has regressed.

The buzz about Arraiz should be over.

While he makes good contact, the "generational hitter" as Gladden once called him, does not make him Tony Gwynn. He is at best a one dimensional player. I eould take Jonathan Scope and his 30HR, 250 BA and cannon arm over Arraiz every day, all day.

Arraiz us a sub par defender, weak arm, zero speed and a bum knee.

Now we have Gordon, who is by all accounts a whiz of a fielder, can fill in at CF for Buxton, speed galore and is hitting better than Arraiz

We need more multi tool players. What ever happened to the 5 tool guys in baseball? The guy who would hit 300, belt out 25 HR, steal 30+ bases & play great defense? If Buxton could ever stay healthy, he would qualify. Gordon hopefully can compliment him.

Sano continues to disappoint with his maddening strikeout rate. Other than that he is a much better fielder than he gets credit for. 

The thing about Kepler & Polanco is that they are signed to very favorable deals.

But they need to make moves in the next year or two and get a SS (make a hitter out of Lewis) sign Arraiz as a utility guy who can play 3 infield spots or cut bait on all 3.

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11 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

What I do not want is for Kepler to come back and bench one of these two players.  I see Kepler in CF (not my favorite either) Celestino sent down and Kiriloff and Larnach surrounding him. 

I'm not worried. When it has come to Falvine's top hitting prospects, they are either in the lineup every day or playing that much in AAA.

9 hours ago, KBJ1 said:

I feel the team misses Eddie Rosarios flair & passion, but these two have the skills to replace him and more.

"Passion"? He'd routinely show little effort running to first and would misplay routine flyballs. I in no way hate Rosario, but if the Twins retained him and the he hits like he has for the Indians, Twins Daily would be slamming him. He hasn't been all that much better than Sano this year and has certainly not been worth the $8M Cleveland gave him. He still can't get on base and his power is suddenly gone (4 HRs in 240+ PAs).

9 hours ago, KBJ1 said:

Now we have Gordon, who is by all accounts a whiz of a fielder, can fill in at CF for Buxton, speed galore and is hitting better than Arraiz

You're basing this off small sample sizes for both Gordon and Arraez... even with Arraez slumping, he still getting on base with a .350 OBP and has a career .316 BA. His defense is pretty bad, but we need him in the lineup, especially with how many solo HRs this team has been hitting without him.

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