New Everyday Players — Sep 21, 2023

Welcome to an all Twins version of our dive into new everyday players! Perhaps one of these players could help deliver a championship.

Kyle Farmer | MIN 2B/SS/3B

With incumbent shortstop Carlos Correa hitting the IL, Farmer figures to take over as the team’s starter there, which could last the remainder of the season. While he was mostly a part-timer this year for the Twins, he actually drew the majority of starts with the Reds during the previous two seasons, delivering just enough offense to be acceptable for fantasy owners in deep leagues.

This year, he has played about a half a season and has posted his best power year since a third of a season in 2019. His HR/FB rate has inched up to a three year high, while his ISO has increased as well. He’s benefiting more from the uptick in power as well, as his FB% is sitting at a career high 38.3%. That has resulted in a 20+ home run pace over a full season’s worth of ABs.

However, his maxEV is unimpressive at just 105.5 MPH, which is actually the lowest mark he has posted if we ignore his small samples in 2017 and 2018. So he’s not hitting the ball any harder, but his Barrel% is at a career best. That means he’s pairing the EV he does possess with the right launch angle more frequently than ever before. Whether that lasts is anyone’s guess, but given the weak maxEV, I certainly wouldn’t expect any more power than this.

That power has to remain respectable given the lack of speed. For his career, he has average just about four steals over a full season and he has succeeded just once in five stolen base attempts this year. He might be too scared to attempt another one at this point!

He rarely walks, his strikeout rate has jumped, and his BABIP generally hovers around the league average. So, he’s not going to be a batting average or OBP contributor, though he’s unlikely to really hurt there.

Since he likely has the shortstop job to himself for at least the next 10 days, you might as well add him in deep leagues if you have a hole there or at MI.

Trevor Larnach | MIN OF

Larnach was just recalled from Triple-A yesterday (or hours before I’m typing this) and was most recently ranked as the Twins second best prospect and 34th overall back in 2021. With 50/60 Game Power and 65/65 Raw Power grades, he’s someone I’m interested in following.

His role as an everyday player is actually just speculation now, as there’s no obvious opening in the Twins lineup. However, perhaps they could shuffle things around enough to get Larnach meaningful playing time over the rest of the season. His Triple-A performance certainly justifies it.

This isn’t Larnach’s first taste of big league action. He has actually recorded 669 PAs with the Twins and has been up and down with the team this season as well. That big power potential hasn’t manifested in the Majors yet. He holds just a 12.8% HR/FB rate and .156 ISO, but those numbers seem quite low given his 116 MPH maxEV and consistent marks of 112+, along with an 11.1% Barrel%. That maxEV and Barrel% combo usually matches with at least a high teens HR/FB rate. He hits enough flies to make that power count, so it’s just a matter of waiting for those barrels to turn into home runs.

Strikeouts have been an issue in the Majors, as he sports a 34.1% mark and 15.5% SwStk%. He has been better in the minors, posting a sub-28% this year and similar or better during previous stints. It’s doubtful he’ll suddenly strike out at just a league average rate, but getting it below 30% will make a big difference here as we’re waiting for the power to be displayed.

His walk rate ballooned at Triple-A this year, hitting 15.5% after generally sitting in the low double digits previously. It suggests a big value boost in OBP leagues, as it’s unlikely he’ll be a contributor in batting average and even being neutral could be a challenge.

Overall, he’s a perfect home run speculation if he’s getting the playing time. So for now, he’s one to monitor in daily transaction leagues and if he’s in the starting lineup in your deep league, consider adding him to your lineup.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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