Aaron Trunt isn’t the first Bemidji State University graduate to reach the professional baseball ranks. But he may very well be the first to do it like this.
“I always enjoyed playing and watching baseball,” the 2017 BSU grad said. “But coming out of high school, I always knew that if I was going to continue to work in and around sports, I would probably have to be utilizing my brains rather than my athleticism.”
Trunt’s smarts have landed him a new biomechanics job with the Chicago White Sox, and he has opened up shop at Guaranteed Rate Field for the 2023 season. He’s working with big leaguers as they aim to swing faster, throw harder and prevent injuries before they happen.
Trunt’s expertise in biomechanics -- essentially the study of human movement -- made him the perfect candidate for a budding field like this. And his attitude gave him the gusto to embrace the unknown.
“It’s the start of a new adventure, so it’s obviously really exciting and really fresh,” he said. “I always enjoy challenging myself and never want to feel like I’m getting too complacent. It’s been the right blend of closing one chapter and starting the next one.”
Trunt began catching the attention of MLB teams when his works were published in academic journals while he served as the lead biomechanical engineer at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, S.D. He also successfully defended his dissertation in baseball biomechanics from the University of South Dakota in November and graduated with a doctorate in biomedical engineering.
And, on top of all that, he’s newly engaged to his now-fiancée, Stephanie.
“A lot of it has moved so fast,” he laughed.
The accelerated path he’s on, however, has its roots back in northern Minnesota.
Trunt attended Nashwauk-Keewatin High School and then made the short trek to Bemidji State for his undergrad.
“I always really enjoyed northern Minnesota and the scenery -- the trees, the lakes, everything,” he said. “I was going somewhere new, but it still felt like home to me because it’s the landscape that I’m used to, and I really love the campus.”
It was at BSU where Trunt found the support he needed to launch himself on the upward trajectory that landed him a gig with the White Sox.
“I was lucky enough to have some really good professors who helped me and challenged me just enough to get me pointed in the right direction,” Trunt said. “They got me started in this path of biomechanics and pro sports.”
Trunt was in demand across the major leagues, but he said he took the Chicago job because they offered him the best opportunity.
He’s now working with athletes and loads of data to ensure the ballplayers perform at their peak. That includes improving their fundamentals, plus proactively recognizing and avoiding potential injuries before they happen. Those are, as Trunt put it, “things that will help us win games.”
Admittedly, Trunt comes from a household that cheers for Minnesota sports. That primarily features the Vikings, but his parents also attended a Twins World Series game and passed that fandom onto the next generation.
Trunt’s loyalties have now shifted to the south side of Chicago, however.
“I’ve always cheered for all Minnesota sports,” he said. “But now (the Twins) are a division rival, so that’ll have to get tabled.”