Next up in our MLB Draft profile series is an breakout college power hitter in Trevor Larnach, an outfielder from Oregon State University.
6’4, 213 pounds
Position: Outfield/First Base
DOB: Feb. 26, 1997
Slot recommended bonus (No. 30): $2,275,800
Note: All information of draft prospects compiled from Internet sources, scouting reports and video.
Much like previously profiled Steele Walker, Larnach is an left-handed hitting college outfielder with an advanced approach. However, the comparisons mostly end there. Unlike Walker, Larnach looks the part of a prototype lefty power hitter. His 6-foot-4, 213-pound frame has plenty of power upside. He currently profiles as a corner outfielder with decent athleticism and a plus arm. He also pitched in high school and showed good velocity for a 16-year-old (sat in the low-to-mid 80s). If he continues to add weight and strength, his long term future might be at first base. He’s drawn a lot of comparisons to former Oregon State first-rounder and New York Met Michael Conforto.
Larnach was drafted in the 40th round in 2015 out of high school by the Padres, but elected to honor his commitment to Oregon State. He struggled for playing time as a freshman, but that’s not necessarily a slight to him, as Oregon State is the premier program in the Pac-12 and one of the deepest programs in the country. In his first full year as a regular, Larnach posted a solid .303/.421/.429 triple slash. Unfortunately, his power production never materialized with just three home runs and 53 strikeouts in 237 plate appearances. Fast-forward to 2018 and it’s easy to see why Larnach has launched from relative obscurity into early round consideration. Larnach is hitting an otherworldly .347/.470/.676 with 15 homers in just 211 plate appearances for the No. 2 team in the country. He has cut his strikeout rate (slightly) and maintained his solid plate discipline, drawing a walk nearly 17 percent of the time.
It’s also worth noting that Larnach has shown production with wood bats as well, appearing twice in the Cape Cod League. He hit .303/.390/.442, most recently in the summer of 2017.
Larnach has a nice balanced swing and generates effortless power without much violence and very few moving parts. He sets with a slightly open stance and rests the bat on/just above his back shoulder. He has a moderate leg kick and stride and posts up well into his front leg. He’s certainly not going to be mistaken for Corey Seager or Cody Bellinger who both hit with the flexed front knee that seems to be popular among young Dodger left-handed hitters. Larnach is always going to have a bit of swing and miss in his game, but not enough to be troublesome if his power and plate discipline does indeed translate to the next level. The structure of his swing, his overall build, and advanced approach remind me a bit of former Reds’ first-round and current Mets’ outfielder, Jay Bruce. That’s about his ceiling: A productive, power-hitting corner outfielder with passable defense who will occasionally chip in on the base paths.
Larnach certainly has plenty of arm to stick in right field long term, but it will primarily be his physical development that determines if he needs to move to left field or first base. If he has to move to first, his value takes a significant hit as he’s never going to be the elite hit/power combo that teams look for in a first baseman.
While his tools are enticing, Larnach is not without faults. He is relatively unproven, with just one elite year of college production. He wasn’t an especially heralded high school prospect, and before this year was nowhere near consideration for the first few rounds of the MLB draft. He also struggles with left-handers, specifically lefty breaking balls. He will have to demonstrate that he can be passable against left handed pitching to become a full timer at the MLB level and avoid falling into the platoon corner outfielder trap.
The upside with Larnach is that despite being a late-bloomer, he has a refined approach and a swing that won’t need retooling. He likely won’t need much seasoning in the minors, has shown wood bat production against top college talent, and if everything breaks right, could slot into the Dodgers lineup in right field as a replacement for Yasiel Puig (if he’s not re-signed) as soon as 2020.
The downside is that he lacks the huge upside and flashy tools that you typically look for in a first round pick. You’re drafting him for his bat and if for whatever reason that fails to pan out, there isn’t a lot else to fall back on. He’s also a bit of a lesser known quantity than your typical college first round bat who have usually shown 2-3 years of top tier production.
It’s also worth noting that Larnach has skyrocketed up draft boards and into 1st-2nd round consideration and plays for one of the best teams in the country. A huge College World Series could inflate his draft stock even more, making him less likely to slide to the Dodgers.
Videos courtesy of 2080 Baseball, Baseball America and the Pac-12 Network.
There aren’t a ton of prospects in the Dodgers organization similar to Larnach. He profiles a bit like DJ Peters, but from the opposite side of the plate and less raw power. The only true left-handed power hitter in the Dodgers system is Edwin Rios, and while Larnach lacks the 70-grade raw power of Rios, he has a much more refined approach and plate discipline and isn’t going to be pigeonholed as a first baseman based on being a big kid who can hit. If Larnach sticks in right field and translates his elite production from his junior year to the pros, he’s about as exciting a prospect you can hope for picking at the back end of the first round.
With another year of eligibility, he could go back to school. But without a long track record, he’ll likely be a bit of an easy sign if he’s popped in the first two rounds.