MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins signed first-round draft pick Trevor Larnach just one day before Major League Baseball’s deadline.
For both sides, the delay was well worth the wait. There were no contentious contract negotiations in the way, only a College World Series championship for Larnach with Oregon State.
“We figured it would go to the end, because I thought Oregon State was the best team I saw all spring,” Twins scouting director Sean Johnson said. “They were really built to win that series, so we knew it would take a while.”
Larnach’s standard minor league deal, signed on Thursday afternoon, came with a $2.55 million signing bonus. The slot value set by MLB for the 20th overall selection was $3.12 million, so the Twins put some of that savings toward signing other players in their draft class.
Larnach, a corner outfielder who hit .327 with 17 home runs and 65 RBIs this season for the Beavers, batted .417 with five doubles, nine RBIs and 10 runs scored in eight games at the College World Series. His two-run homer in the ninth inning against Arkansas helped Oregon Statestave off elimination in the second game of the finals , and the Beavers went on to win the decisive third game the following night.
“I would say it’s probably the closest thing you are going to get to playing here in the big leagues,” Larnach said as he toured Target Field for the first time before the Twins played Baltimore on Thursday night. “There are a lot of people at every game. You start playing some SEC teams, and you start hearing them pretty well. It’s all part of it. It’s a wonderful experience, and I wish I could re-live some of it, but you know there are better times ahead.”
The Twins said the 21-year-old Larnach will report to rookie-level Elizabethton of the Appalachian League.
“It’s good to have him in the fold,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “I told him to enjoy the experience. I couldn’t really relate to him what it was like to sign at this particular point in my life because it was 40-some years ago, but it was nice for him and his parents to come in and have a chance to talk with them.”
Johnson was on a scouting trip in North Carolina, dining at The Cheesecake Factory restaurant with Twins vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff, when they saw Larnach’s dramatic home run. They weren’t exactly sweating the timing of the signing.
“Twenty seconds before he hit the home run, I’m like, ‘If he hits a home run here to give them the lead, we can wait another day,’” Johnson recalled. “Right on cue, he hit it. That was the first time I celebrated in a Cheesecake Factory. That was pretty cool. That was a fun moment to watch.”
For Larnach, too, of course.
“My experience at Oregon State, man, it’s pretty unbelievable. I can’t put that into words,” he said. “I can’t thank my family at Oregon State enough for what they’ve done for me. I’m always going to come back to them and say hi and give them my love and just give back to them as much as I can, because they’ve developed me not only as ballplayer but as a person, and that’s what they promised when I got there.”