With an impressive junior season, outfielder Trevor Larnach jumped up the draft board to the Minnesota Twins at No. 20 in the first round.
Larnach, a left-handed hitter, can drive the ball to the left-center and right-center gaps. His quick but compact swing should and has produced a lot of extra-base hits.
His extra-base-hit total rose this season with the Beavers thanks in large part to his home run total. Last season, in 2017, he hit 16 doubles and three home runs in 198 at-bats. This season, Larnach hit 13 doubles and 17 home runs in 204 at-bats.
So what helped Larnach hit the ball out at a much higher rate?
“He started to drive the ball,” Jonathan Mayo said about Larnach on MLB Network. “He didn’t get out of that approach, and his strikeout rate went down.”
In 2017, Larnach struck out 21.37 percent of his at-bats while this season he has struck out 19.76 percent of the time. Not a huge change in percentage points. Taking into account his steady walk percentage, Larnach was able to put the ball in play more often and with more authority.
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“This is really about an offensive player with upside and power,” Twins scouting director Sean Johnson said in multiple media outlets.
The offensive upside is the most intriguing part of Larnach’s game. He used his home field’s wind patterns to maximize his power, which was to his opposite field.
An early projection for his future
After scouring reports and watching highlights, Larnach’s swing and build are very similar to current Minnesota Twins outfielder Max Kepler. Like Kepler, Larnach will need to continue to develop in the minor leagues before his “home run swing” comes to fruition
As previously mentioned, Larnach has plenty of gap power, which should allow for a plethora of doubles. At worst, he never truly develops his home run potential while continuing to spray the ball to all fields. At best, Larnach develops into a player capable of hitting 20 home runs per season.
He seems like a player who is very aware and intelligent. He knew enough to hit the other way because that’s where the home runs were. A player who is self-aware always has an advantage over other players who aren’t.
Aside: As a former player, a team of mine played in Jamestown, North Dakota, which has a tall right field fence that is a very shallow 290 feet from home plate. As a right-handed hitter, a pitch on the outside is one that needs to be driven with a slight uppercut to get some loft in order to lift a fly ball to right. When done correctly, it was a guaranteed home run. Having the awareness and plate approach to do so made you a better hitter.
Larnach may not become a 25-homer player but nevertheless will have 15 to 20 home run power. He will certainly contribute at a corner outfield spot in the future with his above-average arm and fielding skills.
However, it took three years to truly develop into a great collegiate player. Larnach should have no problems continuing his development but, like his college career, it may take him longer than anticipated to reach his full potential.
Despite the slow growth, Larnach seems eager to hone in his craft.
“I’ve done everything from changing my batting stance to my mechanics … I’m not done yet,” Larnach said. “There are still things I need to do.”