Trevor Larnach: Twins 2019 Minor League Player Of The Year
Like a lot of young power-hitting prospects, Trevor Larnach has some work to do, the Twins believe, on the frequency with which he tries to pull the ball.
One big difference: They want more.
"His ability to hit the ball the opposite way, and with real authority, belies his age and his experience," Twins general manager Thad Levine said. "Most of the better hitters in the major leagues would tell you that comes later, with more maturation and more plate appearances. But for Trevor, it's something that seems to have been a part of his skill set from Day 1."
Part of that advanced approach comes with drafting one of the star hitters of a College World Series champion, as the Twins did with the 20th overall pick in 2018 when they chose the Oregon State corner outfielder. But the biggest part of it comes from Larnach's natural instincts.
"The normal learning curve, in a sense, does not apply to Trevor, who came to us a remarkably advanced technician with the bat," Levine said. "If anything, his next level of development will require him to be able to demonstrate the ability to pull the ball with the same level of dominance that he does hitting the ball the opposite way. But I sure as heck like the fact that he starts with the foundation of the opposite field approach that he has.”
Larnach's 2019, his first full season as a professional, demonstrates why. The 22-year-old has hit a combined 12 home runs through 119 games with high Class A Fort Myers and Double-A Pensacola, but perhaps more importantly he's hit 29 doubles, many of them into the left-center field gap. His 50 walks have pushed him to a .375 on-base percentage and, in a stacked Twins' system that includes fellow first-round blue-chippers Alex Kirilloff and Royce Lewis, helped him earn recognition as the Twins' top minor leaguer in 2019.
"Honestly, I’m not tremendously surprised," Levine said. "What our scouts talked about when he came out of Oregon State was that he was an unusually advanced hitter.
"He’s more than delivered on his promise so far.”
— Rarely does a pitcher establish himself as a no-doubt major leaguer by the time he crosses the 50-inning threshold, but Brusdar Graterol looks unique in a lot of ways. The 20-year-old righthander’s fastball was clocked at 103.8 mph by the Pensacola radar gun, which helps explain his 56 strikeouts in 57.1 Southern League innings this season. Graterol was almost unhittable early in the year, posting a 1.89 ERA and holding hitters to a .188 batting average in his first nine starts. A shoulder impingement sidelined him for more than two months, but Graterol is being considered for a September callup to the majors anyway.