Twins select Larnach at No. 20 to open Draft

Minnesota tabs UNC Wilmington catcher Jeffers with 59th pick

June 4th, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins went with a collegiate outfielder with their first pick in the MLB Draft for the first time since 1969, selecting Oregon State's Trevor Larnach with the No. 20 overall selection on Monday night. They kept up the theme of selecting college position players early in the Draft, taking catcher Ryan Jeffers from UNC Wilmington with the No. 59 overall pick in the second round.
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Larnach, the 26th-ranked Draft prospect by MLB Pipeline, is a left-handed hitter with patience and power, as he hit .324/.447/.637 with 17 homers, 13 doubles and 64 RBIs in 55 games with the Beavers this season. The Twins already have a deal in place with Larnach, but he can't sign until Oregon State is eliminated from the postseason. The pick carries a slot value of $3.1 million.
"It's exciting, it's what you wait your whole life for," Larnach said. "It's a dream come true. It's one stage in my life, but I'm ready to tackle any obstacles that come up."
The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder is a corner outfielder with a strong arm, which could profile better in right field. But the Twins see him more as a player who could move quickly through the system because of his offensive ability.
"He's definitely a corner outfielder and he think he throws enough and moves enough to play right," scouting director Sean Johnson said. "This is really about an offensive player with upside and power."
Larnach is a career .296/.417/.494 hitter at Oregon State, as he developed his power this year, going from three homers in '17 to 17 this year. He said he worked on his swing throughout the offseason with three-hour sessions with a private hitting coach that he said he couldn't name because his job title wouldn't permit it.
"I've done everything from changing my batting stance to my mechanics like working on the load and working on the gather," Larnach said. "I'm not done yet. There are still things I need to do."
Johnson said analytics played a role in their selection, as Larnach posted high exit velocities at Oregon State that even surpassed last year's first-round pick Brent Rooker, who has had a strong start to his professional career.
"Our analytics team looked at Trackman and he had a pretty low launch angle, but his exit velocity was right in the top of the country," Johnson said. "It was just ahead of Rooker, who obviously had an awesome spring last year. This guy represented our scouting department with our R&D group coming together to line up what we saw with our eyes."

The Twins place a high priority on makeup -- which was a strong factor in their selection of Royce Lewis with the No. 1 overall pick last year -- and Johnson said Larnach checked every box and stepped up when the club's star player, Nick Madrigal, went down with an injury. Madrigal was the No. 4 overall pick by the White Sox.
"All our reports on the makeup, and we dug in pretty hard here, was an outstanding kid with a growth mindset and open-minded to being coached," Johnson said. "He's a student of the game and a hard worker."
Larnach said his passion for the game is why he believes he'll be able to make an impact with the Twins down the road.
"I've been working my tail off since high school," Larnach said. "I've been getting results, but I feel like I can go higher and develop mentally and physically."

Jeffers, meanwhile, was not ranked among the Top 200 Draft prospects by MLB Pipeline, but he has strong offensive potential, much like Larnach, and fits an organizational need for catching. Jeffers' pick carries a slot value of $1.1 million.
Jeffers, 21, hit .320/.472/.600 with 16 homers and 54 RBIs in 58 games this season and is a career .325/.450/.631 batter in his three seasons with UNC Wilmington. He's 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, but there are concerns about his hands and reactions defensively behind the plate.
"He's an offensive-minded catcher,"'s Jim Callis said. "The question is on his catching ability. I think the consensus among some teams is he might not stick behind the plate. But the Twins obviously think he can catch."
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The preview show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage beginning at noon CT.