Alex Kirilloff Should Make his Twins Debut in 2020
Image courtesy of © Butch Dill-USA TODAY SportsKirilloff experienced an up and down 2019 campaign compared to his stellar 2018 at A/A+ where he hit .348/.392/.578 (.970) with 20 home runs. The 2019 season was riddled with injuries, resulting in only 94 games played and 150 fewer plate appearances. He still put together a pretty average line of .283/.343/.413 (.756) but the .
165 point drop off in slugging is a bit concerning. Along with the drop off in plate appearances, Kirilloff had 26 fewer doubles, five fewer triples, and 11 fewer home runs.
Nonetheless, Kirilloff has shown he has the ability to be an excellent hitter and he was still solid last season despite constant injuries and being one of the youngest players at AA. His final month was great as he slashed .311/.351/.500 (.851) in 26 games and tacked on his final five home runs.
Could Kirilloff make the opening day roster?
Alex Kirilloff will likely enter spring training fighting for a roster spot depending on what takes place this offseason. Will C.J. Cron be coming back? Could the Twins trade a starting outfielder? I don’t know, but if Cron or any of the three outfielders aren’t here to start 2020, then Kirilloff could win a starting spot on the roster. I doubt he makes the roster as a bench player because the Twins would rather have him get consistent at-bats in the minors so it's starter or minor leagues.
He could take Cron’s spot because it appeared he was being groomed to do just that last season. The Twins began experimenting with him as a first baseman, and he played 35 games there while still playing 49 in the outfield. At first base he did fine for his first season with five errors in those games to give him a .981 fielding percentage. He will never be an elite fielder so if he is going to be a star then his bat will have to do most of the work.
When is it most likely he makes his debut?
If I had to project when I think Kirilloff will actually be up with the Twins, I would say late August or early September. If Cron or an outfielder is gone for the 2020 season I would expect the Twins to find a veteran placeholder like Avisail Garcia rather than immediately rely on a rookie. If Alex Kirilloff is performing well enough in the minors during the season to the point where he just has to be called up, I don’t think the Twins will hesitate to do so. They know the type of player he could become if everything breaks right. There is a reason he has earned some comparison to Joey Votto.
He may not make it until late in the season, but I definitely expect we will see Alex Kirilloff wearing a Twins uniform before the season is over. When do you hope to see Kirilloff make his debut? What do you expect from him when he does finally make it to the majors? Leave a comment below.
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