Get To Know: Twins Outfield Prospect Alex Kirilloff
Seth Stohs (SS): Growing up near Pittsburgh, we know your favorite team was the Pirates. Did you go to a lot of games? Who were some of your favorite players?
Alex Kirilloff (AK): I usually was able to catch a few games a year. When I was younger I liked Jason Bay and Freddy Sanchez basically because they were the only two good players they had at the time. As I grew a little bit older I took a liking to and looked up to Andrew McCutchen a lot. It's hard not to like him, he's a great player and I admire the way he handles himself off the field as well.
SS: What were some of the better memories of your high school baseball career? Did you play other sports or were you involved in other activities?
AK: Some of my best memories were building relationships and bonds with my teammates on my high school team. Having success with them made it all the more pleasant. Also, playing competitively during the summer high school circuits was a lot of fun. Perfect Game All-American Game was great, something I will always look back on and never forget.
SS: You committed to Liberty pretty early, a program that is building. What was the recruitment process for your through your years? What was it about Liberty that made it the right program for you?
AK: I did commit young to Liberty. I committed going into ninth grade. For me the best part about Liberty was just the atmosphere there and the faith-based aspect of that school. I love the people and the coaches there so it was a no-brainer for me. I knew that I couldn't see myself at any other school so that is why I chose so early.
SS: Did you enjoy traveling a lot in the summer for the tournaments, Perfect Game, etc. ?
AK: I loved it. Being able to travel and go play against some of the best talent in the country was awesome. Truly was a great opportunity.
SS: What was your experience with the whole scouting process? When was the first time you remember having scouts watching you? What was your interaction with the Twins scout before the draft?
AK: I didn't mind the scouting process. If anything I just let it fuel me more and motivate me to perform better. The Underclass Area Code game was really the first time I really felt like I had a lot of eyes on me. I was able to have a home visit with the Twins area scout and one of the cross-checkers before the high school season started. They were able to catch multiple games and I eventually was able to meet then Scouting Director Deron Johnson as well.
SS: The Twins took you with the 15th overall pick. Is that about where you were expecting to go?
AK: I was fortunate enough to have a good adviser at the time who basically was able to give me a general idea of where I was going to fall. But obviously, yes, I couldn't be happier with the Twins selecting me and the opportunity that I have.
SS: Who was with you during the draft? Obviously you were watching it on TV. What was the reaction like from your family and friends that night?
AK: I was able to be accompanied by my whole high school team that night which was pretty great. We had a state playoff game earlier that day which we won. Besides them I had a lot of family and close friends there at the gathering. The overall reaction was amazing and is definitely one of the coolest moments in my life.
SS: You had the opportunity to come to Target Field to sign, but also were able to meet some current Twins. What was that experience like? Did you talk to many of the current players or the manager?
AK: I thoroughly enjoyed Minnesota and visiting Target Field. It was the first time I've been there, and I don't really think a better first impression could have been made. I was fortunate enough to meet some of the players and speak to Paul Molitor briefly as well.
SS: What has the adjustment like for you, from the high school game to the professional game, both on and off the field?
AK: Adjusting for me was not too bad at first. Playing professional baseball has been something I've been preparing for basically my whole life. Obviously the game speeds up a lot compared to high school, so that is a big adjustment. Off the field as well just being ready to play everyday is a big part of adjusting as well.
SS: To what do you attribute your success in the Elizabethton, particularly early in the season?
AK: It really was a combination of things. First off, it was a blessing from the Lord and I give all the glory to God for letting me get off to a good start in my career. Second, I was pretty rested, excited, and eager to start playing.
SS: You were quite young on the E-Town roster. Was it difficult to play with older guys? How about adjusting to several teammates who speak Spanish?
AK: It wasn't hard playing against older guys. I've played against older guys mostly the whole time I was growing up. Most of the Latin guys that speak Spanish are still usually capable of communicating back in some form of English. Some are even fluent in both languages. I am trying to learn Spanish myself now though.
SS: You missed the end of the season with an elbow injury. Can you recall exactly what happened? How has the rehab process been, and how are you doing at this point?
AK: The rehab process has been great. Biggest thing for me is just having patience with it. I'm super excited to get back on the field for spring training.
SS: At this very early stage in your career, what would you say are your biggest strengths?
AK: On field, I would have to say my bat. I still have room for improvement in all aspects of my game though and I have a long way to go.
SS: What are the areas of your game that you would like to spend time working to improve in the offseason and going forward?
AK: I would like to improve on everything. My main thing with offseason is just getting healthy though.
SS: What are some of the things you enjoy doing away from the game of baseball?
AK: Staying active, reading my Bible, going to the beach.
SS: Most are aware that your dad runs a hitting facility and has helped you with your game since you were young. How has he helped you on and off the field and who are some of the other people who have helped you get to this point in your career?
AK: My dad has helped me immensely and is a huge contributor in my life. My mom and sister also were big supporters for me growing up. Various coaches and teammates are big parts of my life as well.
SS: Favorite baseball movie?
AK: Tie between Mickey and Little Big League.
Again, thank you so much to Alex Kirilloff. Please feel free to comment or ask questions below.
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