Successful college hitters from elite programs often rise up war room boards in the weeks before the draft. Oregon State University outfielder Trevor Larnach fits into that category nicely, with an excellent junior campaign moving him “intriguing college bat” to “almost-certain first round pick.” Let’s take a look.
Larnach is from Pleasant Hill, California, where he attended College Park High School. Eligible for the 2015 draft with a height/weight listing of 6-4, 160, he was drafted in the 40th round by the San Diego Padres but did not sign and honored his commitment to Oregon State.
Larnach saw bench action in 2016, hitting just .157/.271/.176 in 51 at-bats. However, he played well in the Cape Cod League that summer (.275/.402/.350 in 80 at-bats for Falmouth) and took a regular spot in the Beavers lineup for ‘17, hitting .303/.421/.429 in 198 at-bats. Last summer he returned to the Cape and showed improved power, adding some 60 points to his ISO and hitting .308/.390/.442 overall.
The question back in January: would Larnach’s power increase last summer carry forward? The answer to that is, yes, very much, yes. Larnach is hitting .328/.450/.656 this spring with 17 homers, 38 walks, and 46 strikeouts in 195 at-bats.
There is more than one factor to explain this. Physical maturity is obviously key: he’s still 6-4 but has filled out and is much stronger now, checking in at 210 pounds. That gives him more raw strength to tap and he’s learned how to do so, refining his swing mechanics and adding more loft without hampering his pure hitting skills or getting too pull-oriented. He does have a fairly high strikeout rate but he’s a selective hitter and has always drawn his share of walks even before the power surge.
Larnach is mobile and reasonably athletic, not much of a threat to steal at this point but certainly capable of playing a corner outfield spot well. Reports on his throwing vary, some sources saying he has an above-average arm that would fit just fine in right field, others saying his arm is just so-so and would project better in left. The arm questions are a minor concern and don’t hamper his stock in the eyes of most.
The team that drafts Larnach is drafting him for his power, patience, and polish. He was viewed as a second or third round talent nine months ago but current buzz has him in the first round. The general consensus puts him in the 20-30 range but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he was drafted a little earlier than that.