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  • What’s the Ceiling for Trevor Larnach?

    Ted Schwerzler

    A first round pick in 2018, Trevor Larnach made his Major League debut last season for the Minnesota Twins. There were shining moments, but the vast majority was marred by nagging injury. Now healthy, Larnach looks like a superstar in the making. Just how high does his ceiling get?

    Image courtesy of Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

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    Back in mid-April I wrote about Trevor Larnach’s process. That was just five games into the season and he had just a .616 OPS. Twins Daily’s Seth Stohs quipped that making much out of such a small sample (3 games) was likely nothing, but the hard-hit rates were impossible to ignore. Fast forward to the end of May, and the process has turned into results.

    On the season Larnach has been worth 1.3 fWAR, the highest total on the Twins. His .886 OPS is already a strong number considering the state of offense across the league this season. Over his last 18 games though, Larnach has slashed .339/.424/.625 with seven doubles and three dingers. The 161 OPS+ on the season is indicative of an offensive threat nearly twice that of the league average.

    What’s also impressive is that Larnach isn’t simply generating hard contact, but he’s reigned in some of the swing and miss as well. After being at a nearly 17% whiff rate last season, Larnach has dropped that to 13.9% in 2022. That’s helped to slightly increase his walk rate but has also added to his overall contact ability. Larnach has been a good hitter everywhere he’s gone, and he’s been more choosy this season as well. Shaving nearly 5% off his chase rate, pitchers are having to attack him within the strike zone.

    The scouting report on Larnach has never changed. He’s going to make loud contact and do damage because of it. Dealing with lower-body injuries last season, there’s reason to believe that hampered performance. His 41.9% hhard-hitrate in 2022 is nearly 10% higher than what it was a season ago. Larnach has also dropped points off his ground ball rate adding both to fly ball and line drive production, both outcomes providing a better opportunity for success.

    It’s been a game of adjustments for Larnach as well, and being the extremely smart player he is, he’s handled them well. Pitchers have basically tried throwing slop at him since he entered the league. The book on him, and teammate Alex Kirilloff, was that they could handle velocity. Larnach has seen four-seam fastballs just 27% of the time this season. Slider has been the most common offspeed offering, but the pitch selection runs the gambit when looking at breaking balls. Because of the work he’s put in, there’s a drastic shift in how the production looks, specifically against the slider, compared to last season. Being able to sit on breaking pitchers, Larnach has made it so there’s nothing he can’t handle at the dish.


    If there’s something somewhat unexpected it’s on the defensive side of things. Larnach was never going to be a hack in the outfield, but I’m not sure his arm was expected to play as it has. He’s already generated three outfield assists this season and it shouldn’t be too long before runners stop testing him. Larnach also has 7 defensive runs saved (DRS) in left field with an additional added in right. That number leads all Major League left fielders.

    When Minnesota took Larnach they were keyed in on a powerful college bat that was set up to do damage any time he made contact. He was already an advanced hitter that didn’t simply swing to launch or miss, but there was refinement needed. Now getting to the big leagues, Larnach looks the part of a player that can anchor the heart of a lineup and put up a thirty-homer season in his sleep. It’s still early in his career, but multiple All-Star game selections don’t seem like a lofty expectation anymore.

    No doubt Minnesota hopes this new core will blossom together. Larnach is starting to see that take shape. If Kirilloff, Royce Lewis, and Jose Miranda can follow suit, they’ll experience plenty of victories along the way.


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    For me, I always liked him better than Kirilloff. I just think he's better overall. Hopefully, he continues to improve. I hope he evolves into a 30 HR, 100 RBI guy, and hits close to .300. I think he can do it. 

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    Since Larnach was drafted, I've always seen he and Kirilloff as largely the same player, projection and profile wise. Interestingly, they've come up through the system usually only separated by a spot or two on virtually all prospect lists, with various comments from those who make said lists that also compare both guys similarly. 

    I'm not surprised by Larnach's defense as I've never heard anything worse than "average", with OK speed once he gets his frame moving, and a strong arm. 

    I think both Larnach and AK are a big part of the Twins for the next 5-8yrs with good health. What's Larnach 's ceiling? The way the game has been altering the past few years and with MLB messing with the balls, I hesitate to project actual numbers. For various reasons, I've had the hunch Kirilloff would end up with a slightly better BA and OB with Larnach having a little more power and a slightly higher XB total per season. 

    I have to say I think legitimate .270 BA at minimum, and pushing 60 XB hits per year.

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    Larnach's ceiling is bat first, above average value (3 WAR-ish) starting corner outfielder. wRC+ 120-ish territory. He's been stunningly better against breaking balls this year than last year and he's continued to mash fastballs. Perhaps equally as surprising, Larnach's sprint speed has improved. His acceleration is still excellent for his top speed, but he's definitely gained a step over last year and you can see it in his splits, but he's still not "fast" he's just not among the slowest outfielders in the game.

    All that said, we're talking a very small sample size this year as evidenced by the fact his numbers didn't look nearly so good until just recently, and last year's sample size was pretty big.

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    2 hours ago, DocBauer said:

    ...I'm not surprised by Larnach's defense as I've never heard anything worse than "average", with OK speed once he gets his frame moving, and a strong arm...

    How did you manage to miss every single scouting report ever written about Larnach?

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    Personally, I am gonna sit back and enjoy watching this young man.  Hopefully for many years.  Expect Lewis will be another star, just hope like heck he can stay on the field.

    Also hope that AK can get healthy because I have total confidence he can  be a top hitter.  This trio could/should be the core of the Twins lineup for the next six plus years.

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    His ability has to be another set back for Kirilloff.   Poor Alex has had multiple injuries and missed time which has allowed Larnach to move ahead of him.  Now the OF has Kepler, Larnach, Celestino, Buxton and Gordon when needed.  Where does Alex play?  

    First base is Arraez and Miranda.  Kiriloff is the odd man out and I do not see Larnach regressing. 

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    I am not going to assume what he is doing now will be forever, hopefully it will be, but he did have a terrible first year.  He clearly has made adjustments, but will he do it again when pitching adjusts to him?  He is hitting LH pitchers very well right now, will that continue?  I am happy to see his defense has improved, and he is making great contact.  He should basically be a plug and play guy until he hits a slump.  

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    4 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

    His ability has to be another set back for Kirilloff.   Poor Alex has had multiple injuries and missed time which has allowed Larnach to move ahead of him.  Now the OF has Kepler, Larnach, Celestino, Buxton and Gordon when needed.  Where does Alex play?  

    First base is Arraez and Miranda.  Kiriloff is the odd man out and I do not see Larnach regressing. 

    If Kirilloff hits his peak he pushes Arraez, Miranda, Gordon, and Celestino all off their spots (other than Celestino and Gordon playing CF). The real question is if his body will ever allow him to hit that peak.

    Lewis, Larnach, and Kirilloff all hitting their peaks would make for one heck of a fun team to watch for the next 6 years. Buxton locked up already, and Arraez and Polanco in for many of those years as well. That could be a real fun top 6 with Kepler around for a couple more years as well, so fun top 7. 

    Larnach looks so much more comfortable at the plate now. If he can continue to establish himself as an everyday bat that can play a solid corner outfield it gives the Twins some nice flexibility over the next couple months to try to make some moves to improve other parts of the roster. LF was the biggest ? in my mind (for positions players, obviously pitching was #1 overall) coming into the season and if he can establish himself as the everyday guy that'd be huge. A top 4 of Larnach-Buxton-Kepler with Celestino as the 4th would be huge. Hoping to see Larnach and Celestino continue to establish themselves as solid, or better, major league players.

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