He’s only been with the Twins for one day, but already Trevor Larnach’s new team is thrilled by what it has received from him.
The Twins got a power hitter. They got a College World Series champion. And they got the cash necessary to afford three other players.
Larnach, an Oregon State outfielder chosen 20th overall in last month’s draft, was at Target Field on Thursday to sign a contract that paid him a bonus of $2.55 million — or $570,000 less than MLB’s recommended bonus for that pick. By day’s end, the Twins had invested that savings in three other draftees, ultimately signing 29 of the 39 players they chose.
“There’s a method to signing these guys in the order we do,” Sean Johnson, the Twins scouting director, said after making Larnach’s signing official one day before the deadline. “We’re not signing every single guy. But we have a couple more big ones.”
Three, actually. With Larnach in the fold, the Twins — limited by MLB rules to spending $5.933 million on their entire Class of 2018 — then signed fifth-round pick Cole Sands, a Florida State righthander, for $600,000, or $269,000 above his slot value; sixth-rounder Charles Mack, a high school infielder who agreed to forgo a scholarship to Clemson for $500,000, or $246,300 than his slot value; and 11th-rounder Michael Helman, a Texas A&M second baseman, whose $220,000 bonus was $95,000 more than the $125,000 value for players beyond the 10th round.
The big prize, though, was Larnach, a player the Twins drafted in hopes he would be a future champion. Now they know for certain.
“You always worry when [draftees] go to the [College] World Series, but we’re just happy he’s healthy and in one piece,” Johnson said. “With a national title under his belt, that’s cool. We’ll take it. It was worth the wait.”
On June 27, Larnach hit a two-out, ninth-inning home run that forced a winner-take-all championship game at the College World Series, and his Oregon State Beavers, who survived six elimination games during the tournament, won the title the next day. And after celebrating with his teammates, Larnach accepted the Twins’ offer.
The College World Series “is a wonderful experience, and I wish I could relive some of it, but you know there are better times ahead,” the 21-year-old outfielder said. “I was there to win championships, and now I’m coming to the Twins with the same mind-set.”
Larnach was in Target Field on Thursday, the day before the deadline to sign draftees, to accept the Twins’ offer, meet the team and manager Paul Molitor, and prepare for the transition to the pros. The Twins will allow him to return home to Pleasant Hill, Calif., to rest up for a few days; then he will report to Fort Myers, Fla., and eventually join most of the other Twins draftees on the rookie-level Elizabethton (Tenn.) Twins.
“Never even heard of it, man, but I’m excited to go,” said Larnach, who hit .348 with 19 home runs and 77 RBI in 68 games for the Beavers this season. “It’s going to be an interesting experience. I can’t wait to get started.”
• Ervin Santana’s velocity is slowing returning. The Twins All-Star righthander hit 91 mph with his fastball a few times on Thursday, during a four-inning start for Class A Fort Myers. Santana, working his way back from February surgery on his pitching hand, gave up two runs on three hits — including a home run by Dunedin’s Kacy Clemens, son of Roger Clemens — and no walks, while striking out two.
• The Twins didn’t seriously consider bringing back Fernando Romero to make Thursday’s start, Molitor said, because they want to give the rookie righthander time to make adjustments to his game. Romero, who posted a 7.54 ERA in his last five starts with the Twins, has given up one run over 11⅔ innings since being demoted again two weeks ago.