CEDAR RAPIDS — Trevor Larnach has been going at this baseball thing for, well, a really long time without a break. He can fill you in on most of the specifics.
“You start in September in college,” the Cedar Rapids Kernels outfielder said Monday, prior to his team’s 3-0 loss Monday night to Quad Cities at Veterans Memorial Stadium. “You’re practicing and playing games every single day.”
Larnach was the top draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in June, the 20th-overall selection. He and Oregon State won the College World Series, then he inked a professional contract that included a $2.55 million signing bonus.
It has been virtually non-stop hardball for the 21-year-old Californian for going on a full year. Fall work at OSU was followed by individual workouts in November and December, the Beavers’ season began in January and lasted until the final couple days of June.
The Twins let him rest for a week or so, got him tuned back up at their minor-league complex in Fort Myers, Fla., and eventually shipped him to Rookie-level Elizabethton in mid-July. He was promoted to the Midwest League last week, and this was his sixth game as a Kernel.
“Even if your body might feel like it is (tired), it’s just a matter of taking care of yourself and having the right attitude,” Larnach said. “It’s just enjoying it, you know? It’s been a half a (season) in pro ball, and it’s been a lot of fun. I’m meeting a lot of people and learning a lot. I might be a little tired, but I never think that way during a game.”
The scouting report on him is a left-handed hitter with an advanced approach and power potential. He hit 19 home runs this season for Oregon State and has three in 23 games as a pro.
“We haven’t seen a ton of him, yet, but he’s got a really good swing, a really good approach,” Kernels Manager Toby Gardenhire said. “He can drive the baseball. He’s got that up-the-middle, other-way approach, doesn’t swing at a lot of bad pitches, always has a good at-bat. And he seems like a really good kid. Always asking questions, wants to learn.”
Kernels hitting coach Brian Dinkelman said Larnach reminds him some of Alex Kirilloff, who tore it up here for a half season before a promotion to Fort Myers, where he has continued to rake. Larnach, Kirilloff and Royce Lewis are Minnesota’s top picks the last three years and all played for Cedar Rapids this season.
You don’t see that very often.
“Just kind of his approach and his swing type are similar,” Dinkelkman said. “Kirilloff, at first here, had a tough time driving the ball to the right side. He had that hard top spin to the right side, was really good to left and left-center. That’s kind of where (Larnach) is at right now. Hitting everything inside-out.”
The Kernels (63-56, 31-19 second half) were shut out a second straight game by Quad Cities. Chad Donato of the River Bandits and Edwar Colina of the Kernels put on a heck of starting pitching showdown, each going seven innings and giving up just two hits.
One of the two against Colina (6-4) was a solo home run from Cesar Salazar with two outs in the sixth. Quad Cities got a pair of insurance runs against reliever Rickey Ramirez in the ninth.
Cedar Rapids had just one guy reach third base and one other get as far as second. The teams play again Tuesday night at 6:35.
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