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Trevor Larnach’s second half of the season will likely be a wash for the second consecutive year. In a season in which he could have established himself, he’s been missing again. Can the Twins rely on him moving forward?

Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

 

2021 and 2022 held a lot of similarities for Trevor Larnach. In both cases, he burst onto the scene showing a glimpse of the lineup-changing hitter he’s capable of being. Unfortunately in both cases he tailed off in his production only for an injury to eventually come out as the main cause. So what do we think of Larnach moving forward?

In 2021 Larnach began his season with a .845 OPS in May before the league adjusted. He posted a .704 mark in June and a brutal .518 in July. He would finish the season in St. Paul eventually being shut down with a hand issue, an injury that turned out to be nagging him for longer than Twins fans had known about.

In 2022 Larnach looked even more encouraging. In March and April, Larnach posted a modest .703 OPS, actually above average for the offensive environment at the time. Then in May he posted an absurd 1.077 OPS. In addition to his hitting, his brief time in the majors was enough for teams to stop running on him in the outfield, as his throwing arm became a weapon against runners trying to get an extra base. Once again, however, he faded off in a huge way, posting an OPS of .429 in June before getting shut down at the end of the month for a core muscle injury he had been dealing with for the entire month.

His timeline was 6-8 weeks putting him at a mid to late August return. At the time of this writing in mid-September, however, Larnach is finally making his first rehab appearance in the minors. With the calendar dwindling, it's likely at this point that Larnach’s 2022 season has come to an end, but he finishes with a modest .231/.306/.406 batting line which was heavily weighed down by a brutal final month. His 1.1 Wins Above Replacement in just 51 games played alludes to the possibility of an everyday regular in the lineup moving forward. But can we trust Larnach to fill such a role?

The first concern at this point has to be health. Larnach has failed to reach 100 games played in each of the last two seasons due to injury. The hand contusion in 2021 may have been a fluke, but 2022's core muscle injury that cost him half the season is more of a concern. Larnach relies on such muscles for every swing he takes, every route to a fly ball he runs, and every rocket he throws into a base. The delay on his return alludes to the Twins making sure he’s at as little risk of aggravating this injury as possible. Headed into 2023 we have to hope it pays off.

The second concern is whether Larnach can consistently channel his talent into on-field production. While injury has hampered his numbers to an extent these last two years, it’s easy to be concerned about him long-term given his swing-and-miss tendencies. Easily the biggest knock on his offensive profile, his incredible power and fantastic eye at the plate can easily be outweighed if he fails to make contact with pitches in the strike zone as we’ve seen at times in his young career.

It would be nice if Larnach was more of a known commodity after two years of MLB exposure, especially given the murky futures of fellow top prospects Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff. Of the three, Larnach appears to be the most stable however due not only to the flashes of offensive and defensive value, but because of the nature of the injuries that have ended each of their seasons.

Headed into 2023 it’s hard to be 100% confident in Larnach, but there has to be some hope that he can be the Opening Day left fielder and hold onto the job for the next 4-5 years. He’s shown a tremendous ceiling but he doesn’t have to reach it to be a valuable player. Max Kepler has spent the last three years providing league average offense at best and has still added value because of his defense. Larnach’s 2022 should provide hope that he can at the very least do the same while providing a much more balanced offensive profile aside from the strikeouts.

Certainly, we have to be disappointed with Larnach’s 2022, but like most disappointing seasons, there are some redeeming qualities. Headed into 2023 it’s hard to argue against handing Larnach the keys to a starting job and seeing if it’s finally the year that it comes together. The Twins don’t have any immediate alternative options and it’s safe to say that if they want to prioritize replacing any outfielder, it should be the aforementioned Max Kepler. Larnach should be given another chance to make himself a piece of the Twins future. Do you agree?

 


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As your article indicates, we have not seen enough of him for a long enough stretch of uninjured time to know exactly how he will fit in to the lineup.  To me, he is another example of the confusing injury situation facing the Twins.  I guess I question whether it was best to let him continue to play with a wrist injury last year and a core injury this year.  And, as seems to always be the case with the Twins, his recovery time took longer than expected.  Maybe Larnach didn't communicate well, but it sure looks to me like it is an area for examination in the off season.  I still really like this kid's potential.

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I have reached a point with Twins help where I no longer project or expect - when players like Miranda stay healthy they give me some confidence that they will perform well for a long time.  Even Gordon's ability to stay on the field is great considering his minor league record.  It is because they stay healthy that Celestino and Cave have real value to the team.

But Larnach is a player I hope to see in a prominent role, but like Kiriloff and Lewis it is a wait and see situation. 

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39 minutes ago, Doctor Gast said:

IMO Larnach will get better both in performance & health, the more he puts time in. Before too long Larnach should be a staple in the Twins OF.

Based on what? Because that's what we all wish would happen? 

I think it's better we all live in reality. Until we see a full season of Larnach hitting 28 HRs and driving in 80+ runs, he's not lived up to the hype and can't be considered reliable. Nobody gets credit for what they should've done. You have to do it for it to count. 

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4 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

I have reached a point with Twins help where I no longer project or expect - when players like Miranda stay healthy they give me some confidence that they will perform well for a long time.  Even Gordon's ability to stay on the field is great considering his minor league record.  It is because they stay healthy that Celestino and Cave have real value to the team.

But Larnach is a player I hope to see in a prominent role, but like Kiriloff and Lewis it is a wait and see situation. 

He has done nothing as this time and should be nothing more than a Plan B at this Point. Hopefully he pushes into a starters job.

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9 minutes ago, bighat said:

Based on what? Because that's what we all wish would happen? 

I think it's better we all live in reality. Until we see a full season of Larnach hitting 28 HRs and driving in 80+ runs, he's not lived up to the hype and can't be considered reliable. Nobody gets credit for what they should've done. You have to do it for it to count. 

Based on the eye test. When Larnach has been on not only is the D better than many predicted, his all fields power approach makes me dream big on this guy. He had also proven to be clutch in college and with some big bombs in the bigs. 

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1 minute ago, MGM4706 said:

Nope! Like Sano the league figured out he can't hit a curve ball!! Plus so limited in the outfield. Doesn't cover much ground and can't play the fence. Time to move on from him!!

Not sure it's "time to move on" but I agree it should be considered. Especially with the emergence of Gordon, the Twins should realize they have a viable LF and shouldn't consider Larnach a necessary core piece of the team's future. 

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On 9/16/2022 at 6:22 AM, bighat said:

Not sure it's "time to move on" but I agree it should be considered. Especially with the emergence of Gordon, the Twins should realize they have a viable LF and shouldn't consider Larnach a necessary core piece of the team's future. 

To clarify, though Larnach has posted 1.2 WAR this year in 51 games and Gordon has posted 1.5 in 118 games and though Larnach is more than a year younger, you’re suggesting that Gordon makes Larnach unnecessary? 

Help me understand. Cheap depth is awesome and in the Twins budget structure, necessary. With what they have shown, both are more necessary than Kirilloff, but I’m not calling him unnecessary either.

Give me an outfield with Buxton, Kepler, Larnach, Kirilloff (also spending time at 1b) and Gordon, with Celestino the next man up, and I’m feeling pretty chipper about that part of the roster. 

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36 minutes ago, bighat said:

Based on what? Because that's what we all wish would happen? 

I think it's better we all live in reality. Until we see a full season of Larnach hitting 28 HRs and driving in 80+ runs, he's not lived up to the hype and can't be considered reliable. Nobody gets credit for what they should've done. You have to do it for it to count. 

Larnach, Kiriloff and Lewis have not played enough to be considered reliable. Kepler has been a 4th OF defensive replacement type player for 3 years. Re: the quote above- You have no business citing “counting categories “ in these forums!  Don’t you know that the only thing that matters is potential???  “Nobody gets credit for what they should’ve done”?!?!  Have you read the comments on here?  EVERYBODY gets credit for potential!  Correa’s offensive numbers are little better than Urshela’s, but on here, he has “earned” his contract. Now stop bringing up “reality”!  It’s skewing the metrics!

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43 minutes ago, bighat said:

Based on what? Because that's what we all wish would happen? 

I think it's better we all live in reality. Until we see a full season of Larnach hitting 28 HRs and driving in 80+ runs, he's not lived up to the hype and can't be considered reliable. Nobody gets credit for what they should've done. You have to do it for it to count. 

He's shown promise - there are very few players that show up in the majors and immediately start hammering pitching. There have been very productive months-at-at-time stretches, and the cratered months can/might be attributable to the injury issues. Look at his history - he put up very strong stats in college (perhaps the best player on the team that won the College World Series), strong stats at each stop in the minors. The pedigree is there. Then there is the defense - he's got a tremendous arm. That alone is worthy of 'the look' and part of why in less than a third of a season, he had a 1.1 WAR this year. 

 

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What it it with this "time to move on" thing? These guys are like stocks or CD's..Not scratch off tickets..If Juan Soto had the same injuries his 1st two season would we all be...Ok who next??...Not everybody can be Cal Ripken. Relax he's going too be around for awhile. His ability to adjust and his health will determine whether he's a DH, 4th outfielder or and All star.

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7 minutes ago, IndianaTwin said:

To clarify, though Larnach has posted 1.2 WAR this year in 51 games and Gordon has posted 1.5 in 118 games and though Larnach is more than a year younger, you’re suggesting that Gordon makes Larnach unnecessary? 

Help me understand. Cheap depth is awesome and in the Twins budget structure, necessary. With what they have shown, both are more necessary that Kirilloff, but I’m not calling him unnecessary either.

Give me an outfield with Buxton, Kepler, Larnach, Kirilloff (also spending time at 1b) and Gordon, with Celestino the next man up, and I’m feeling pretty chipper about that part of the roster. 

I like this outfield mix as well but don’t know if there’s room to roster Celistino?

After this year, one would assume Buxton is back and manages to play 100 games in Center in 2023 with Gordon starting the other 62. Gordon’s earned another 40 starts in left & a dozen between 2nd & SS when needed. A “utility guy” that can play 5 positions, start 120 games and can run and hit .275 is a real find. Larnach can play left field…..Kiriloff can play LF & be our 3rd choice at 1B. In my opinion, watching Celistino never hit the ball to left field & watching him run the bases is all we need to see that proves the only way he’s playing is because Gordon’s forced to play 2nd & Keppler can’t go to CF due to his injury. Celistino is our 4th option in CF. As much as I love his defense, Cave is the 7th-8th outfielder, behind Celistino & Garlick if all guys are healthy.

Need to trade, maybe not until July, Cave, along with either Larnach or Kiriloff or Keppler. Way too many left handed batters with Gordon already in the mix. I see Arraez & Miranda filling the 1st base DH rolls for a number of years to come. No room there for Kiriloff.

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3 minutes ago, JD-TWINS said:

I like this outfield mix as well but don’t know if there’s room to roster Celistino?

After this year, one would assume Buxton is back and manages to play 100 games in Center in 2023 with Gordon starting the other 62. Gordon’s earned another 40 starts in left & a dozen between 2nd & SS when needed. A “utility guy” that can play 5 positions, start 120 games and can run and hit .275 is a real find. Larnach can play left field…..Kiriloff can play LF & be our 3rd choice at 1B. In my opinion, watching Celistino never hit the ball to left field & watching him run the bases is all we need to see that proves the only way he’s playing is because Gordon’s forced to play 2nd & Keppler can’t go to CF due to his injury. Celistino is our 4th option in CF. As much as I love his defense, Cave is the 7th-8th outfielder, behind Celistino & Garlick if all guys are healthy.

Need to trade, maybe not until July, Cave, along with either Larnach or Kiriloff or Keppler. Way too many left handed batters with Gordon already in the mix. I see Arraez & Miranda filling the 1st base DH rolls for a number of years to come. No room there for Kiriloff.

Injuries, injuries, injuries! It was obvious to me that Larnach wasn't right when he came back from his first stint on the IL and the results panned that out. The Larnach we saw before he was injured is at least a solid MLB player and perhaps much more. There is swing and miss in his game and there will be slumps, but there is excellent power and good defense. He takes his walks, as well. 

To the original question, it is really tough to count on any player who isn't established (Larnach, Kirilloff, Lewis) and coming off injury. My thought is that there needs to be enough depth if one or even two guys fail due to injury or ineffectiveness that there is someone to replace them. Having Gordon produce and stay healthy this year provides much of the desired depth. Arraez, Miranda, Kirilloff, Gordon, Lewis and Larnach provide a lot of positional flexibility. 

I also have not been swayed by Celestino. He's a competent center fielder, but his offense and base running aren't major league quality. With Buxton's injury history, he needs to stay on the roster, but I don't think he should be guaranteed a major league job next spring. 

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Larnach will get his shot. He still has some potential. I'm curious whether any other teams see Larnach as a piece of a puzzle. 

Last night, Larnach looked helpless against a curve ball, but this is largely meaningless if he can get back into a groove and start smacking the ball around to all fields with power. The other question - Who are the other considerations for corner outfield/DH? Wallner has holes in his swing but I'm not sure anyone hits a ball harder and his on base and slugging are strong and he seems to be making adjustments at each level too. So Larnach gets put in a pile of prospects with Wallner.

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14 minutes ago, stringer bell said:

....but I don't think he should be guaranteed a major league job next spring.

Good point that can be said of the entire outfield. Larnach's role is hard to separate from the entirety of the outfield mess. It should not be assumed that Larnach, Buxton, Kepler, or Kiriloff are going to provide any certain # of games. Until they prove they can stay healthy for six consecutive months without a disabling injury, the OF will remain in flux.

Larnach should be given a chance, but not guaranteed a starting role, or, for that matter, a spot on the 26. Ditto for Kiriloff, whether they see him at 1B or OF, or both.  And Buck is what he is at this point-they need a platoon plan for CF. Would that be a trade or FA?  Celestino is still developing...future Aaron Hicks, or Willie Norwood?  Kepler is lost, they will bring him in because they have to, but he cant be counted on for productivity or health. Twins are in a very tough spot with their OF for 2023. It's a logjam of uncertainty.

 

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1 hour ago, IndianaTwin said:

 

Give me an outfield with Buxton, Kepler, Larnach, Kirilloff (also spending time at 1b) and Gordon, with Celestino the next man up, and I’m feeling pretty chipper about that part of the roster. 

I am not. Why should I be? Have the Twins been tearing up the league with that lineup in the past? 

The Twins were winning in 2019 when they had Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano, and Mitch Garver hitting cranking out 30 HRs in a juiced ball season. They won in 2020 with Josh Donaldson and Kenta Maeda pitching as the staff ace. 

Since the Larnach and Kirilloff were promoted to the MLB squad, they've have been on-and-off the Twins roster for the past two years, up-and-down to St. Paul with both injury and performance issues. And the Twins have been BAD. Sure, both have had a few good games and shown flashes of promise, but they've also both gone through horrendous stretches where they were maybe the easiest outs in MLB - and not for a short stretch! In what fantasy land are you living in that you want Kirilloff and Larnach occupying the 3-4 spots on the batting order for years to come? And you also threw in Kepler there. Egads, no.

The Twins are going to have to go after a free agent (or two) OF like Will Myers, AJ Pollack, Adam Duvall, Jurickson Profar, Tommy Pham, Joc Pederson. All of whom are safer, proven options. Larnach and Kiriloff shouldn't be discarded, but they should have to earn their roster spots, they've already been handed starting jobs and have failed miserably. The stats don't lie. 

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It will depend on what function as a player the Twins see most valuable whether hitting, fielding, speed afoot etc.

Twins will look at all the options next spring, veterans and rookies,  and who starts the season in the Majors will have the most of what the Twins want.

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Larnach is still a big question mark. I'm not as concerned with his durability... yet, but I am concerned about how changeups and sliders are both kryptonite against him and he struggles against sinkers, too. The only pitch Larnach can reliably square up is a four seam fastball, though he's passable against curveballs, too. It all boils down to that ugly high whiff rate. Larnach's hit tool was horribly inflated.

Larnach's "power" is gap power, much like Joe Mauer. Mauer had a lot of strength and hit a lot of balls very hard, but he didn't hit them in the air high enough to generate a lot of home runs. Larnach is not, and outside of a single year in college, has not ever demonstrated plus home run production. Fans expecting Larnach to 25+ home runs a year are either unaware of the fact he's really never hit a lot of home runs or hoping he changes his plate approach/swing style to generate more loft. Larnach is probably a 10-15 HR per year kinda guy right now. I'd say he does need to make an adjustment if he's going to swing and miss at as many balls at Miguel Sano does. If you miss on so many pitches, when you connect, it needs to be for more than a double or single. Larnach certainly has the power to regularly put balls in the seats if they're hit the right way.

Defensively, Larnach definitely worked on something conditioning related this past off season because he was faster this year. Measurably faster and that played nicely for his defense. Larnach is credited with good instincts and a good feel for the game and a great read and jump off balls in the outfield can make up a lot for a lack of true speed.

In regard to something like Larnach's impressive WAR in 51 games... I'll take it with a big grain of salt. Larnach got very lucky against sliders early in the season so I felt he may have turned a big corner and learned to adapt. Unfortunately, after April, Larnach was once again totally inept against them. It was just a flash in a pan... probably. Nick Gordon and Trevor Larnach are very different players, but of the two, I'd rather have Nick Gordon starting every day as the left fielder because of Larnach's weak arm and Gordon's more proven results at the plate. That said, I don't think that's a question which needs to be asked since Gordon is much more likely to replace Max Kepler in my opinion.

Would I want to "rely" on Trevor Larnach? No way. His injury history, limited versatility, poor performance against most pitches at the MLB level, extreme whiff rates and limited power production are all at odds with high expectations. A couple difficult but successful adjustments and Larnach could be a very valuable every day starter, but attempts at significant adjustments don't seem to be very successful at the MLB level.

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Larnach was the best player on a team that won the college world series. A first round draft pick he is probably the reason why the twins noticed Spencer steer who was not the best player on that team. There's no way they're going to move on from him right now.

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Arraez & Miranda are NOT 1B material.

We should have jumped all over Hosmer when the Padres were paying people to take him. Hmm, a veteran presence, an excellent 1st baseman, batting 278 with 16 hr. And we have no choice but to put players out of position, who continue to make mistakes while learning on the job. A job they shouldn't be in.

Lewis is only out for the year because he too was playing out of position. One game, one catch, season (career?) over.

The Correa signing (along with Donaldsons) in the FO desire to make "a splash" have continued to ruin this club.

No knock against Correa, he is a fine player and seemingly good clubhouse leader, but we all knew going in that a starter & 2 or 3 top quality bullpen arms were needed. That 35M would have gone a long way towards filling  that giant hole.

Lewis would now still be playing SS.

Sadly the rest of the injuries would still have sunk us.

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15 minutes ago, wabene said:

Larnach was the best player on a team that won the college world series. A first round draft pick he is probably the reason why the twins noticed Spencer steer who was not the best player on that team. There's no way they're going to move on from him right now.

Oregon State University =/= University of Oregon

Maybe there's an interesting anecdote about when the two teams played?

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10 minutes ago, KBJ1 said:

Arraez & Miranda are NOT 1B material.

We should have jumped all over Hosmer when the Padres were paying people to take him. Hmm, a veteran presence, an excellent 1st baseman, batting 278 with 16 hr. And we have no choice but to put players out of position, who continue to make mistakes while learning on the job. A job they shouldn't be in.

Hasn't Arraez graded well defensively at 1B? I'll pass on Hosmer, he's a below average bat for a 1B and getting old, and he does not have 16 HRs, he's at 8 and hasn't hit at least 16 since 2019... veteran prescence is nice, but it hasn't helped the Red Sox (he's hitting .611 OPS for them and injured now). 

 

13 minutes ago, KBJ1 said:

The Correa signing (along with Donaldsons) in the FO desire to make "a splash" have continued to ruin this club.

So you'd rather the Pohlads sit on the money? It's not like we've lost many/any significant internal free agents in recent years.

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I think there's 2 different questions being asked here, intentionally or not.

1]Can we trust Larnach NOW to help? No. A few more games, hopefully he can find his swing and come up to help. He might not. But Buck out, Kepler hurting and inept lately, Garlick hurt yet again while trying to play at probably 75-80%, Hamilton on the bench and Cave not only starting but doing so against LHP. Sheesh! So we can at least HOPE Larnach cones up and can help.

BTW, going to repeat Wallner couldn't do much worse, nor Helman, and they should be up NOW.

2] Can we trust Larnach for the future? He's unfinished and the jury is out how good he might be, but I say YES. When you hit in college, hit in the minors, hit at the ML level WHEN HEALTHY, I think he's got a good future. His defense is solid/OK with a great arm. His only "power" issue thus far has been hitting up the middle and the opposite way almost too much and needs to work on pulling the ball more. That's not a bad problem to have to work on. Neither of his injuries indicates any kind of long term or chronic situation. Just unfortunate. 

IF AK's latest procedure can keep him on the field, he gives the lineup a HUGE potential boost at 1B as well as the OF. Then you add the potential of Wallner in and things start to look very good for the future. (Better too many options vs too few). I like Celestino and think he has a future, but is not finished yet. I'd like to have Garlick back on a mild deal for depth and options. But for yet another year consecutively, I think the Twins need to spend a few $M on a quality RH hitter with pop/power who can play a little defense. Problems against LHP has been constant and I don't want 2023 to be about trusting in Celestino and Garlick too much.

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22 hours ago, wabene said:

Larnach was the best player on a team that won the college world series. A first round draft pick he is probably the reason why the twins noticed Spencer steer who was not the best player on that team. There's no way they're going to move on from him right now.

Entrust and rely upon Trevor Larnach to be the primary starter in left field or DFA and release him. There's a pretty big gap between those two things. A little "gray" area in there, if you will.

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On 9/16/2022 at 8:19 AM, MGM4706 said:

Nope! Like Sano the league figured out he can't hit a curve ball!! Plus so limited in the outfield. Doesn't cover much ground and can't play the fence. Time to move on from him!!

He was one of the highest rated defenders this year before getting hurt. By every site. Nothing in your post is factual.

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1 hour ago, Mike Sixel said:

He was one of the highest rated defenders this year before getting hurt. By every site. Nothing in your post is factual.

Defensive metrics are worthless in the sample size you're referencing. Larnach's UZR/150 was -6.8 in LF last year across 466 innings. He's +20.7 UZR/150 this year in 247 innings.

Larnach is not a plus defender and he almost certainly never will be. Even with his added step this year, he's still just a tick below average for speed in LF and he doesn't have a strong arm. Maybe... Byron Buxton might be +20.7 UZR/150 across a full season in LF, but I'm willing to wager nobody believes Larnach is a better outfielder than a healthy Byron Buxton.

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