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Is Kirilloff going to get called up?

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Twins Blogosphere


Ranking the Twins Top-5 Hit Tool Prospects

In recent years, Luis Arraez has been the epitome of the hit tool when it came to Twins prospects. Here are the players that look to follow in his footsteps in the years to come.
Image courtesy of © John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
5. Alerick Soularie, OF
Current/Future Hit Tool: 35/50
Scouts have differing views when it comes to Soularie and his hitting skills. In parts of two seasons at Tennessee, he hit .336/.448/.586 with 31 extra-base hits and more walks than strikeouts. These numbers were compiled in what is considered the toughest college baseball conference after starting his collegiate career at a community college. His short, compact swing can help him adjust to different hitting environments and he has enough raw athleticism to make adjustments throughout his career. There’s also a chance his swing can’t adjust to the higher levels of the minors and he fizzles out.

4. Gilberto Celestino, OF
Current/Future Hit Tool: 35/55
Celestino was part of the Twins return in the Ryan Pressly trade and his stock has been rising in recent years. He puts the bat on the ball, and he hits it hard on a consistent basis and that trait is only going to improve as he moves up the organizational ladder. Celestino can be the heir apparent to Byron Buxton in centerfield, especially since Buxton only has two years left of team control. On his current path, Celestino projects to a terrific defender in center field and his hitting skills should be more than enough to make him a regular in the Twins outfield.

3. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B
Current/Future Hit Tool: 45/50
Blankenhorn is entering his seventh professional season and he is trying to solidify a role at the big-league level. Last year, he appeared in one game and went 1-for-3 with a double. There’s a potential for him to get more use this season, but it will take an injury or two to get him regular at-bats. In the minors, he’s shown the ability to hit at every level and he’s more advanced than other’s below him on this list. He’s on the fringes of being part of the Twins roster, but he might need to shift to another organization to get more regular playing time.

2. Trevor Larnach, OF
Current/Future Hit Tool: 45/55
Larnach might not be as advanced as the number one hitter on this list, but he has the potential to be an above average MLB hitter. Some powerful hitters need to swing with max effort to generate their swing, but Larnach isn’t one of those players. His naturally smooth swing allows him to spray balls to all fields. Also, Larnach isn’t afraid to tinker with his swing by watching video and asking questions to coaches and players. “I tease him about being a psychopath in terms of his pursuit of perfection,” Twins minor-league hitting coordinator Donegal Fergus said. “He wants good conversation, and honest feedback and ideas.”

1. Alex Kirilloff, OF
Current/Future Hit Tool: 50/60
As Minnesota’s top prospect, Kirilloff’s known for his offensive prowess. He already projects as a league average hitter with a chance to be above average before all things are said and done. He has great plate coverage, and like Larnach, he can spray the ball to all fields. The Twins were confident in him last season and he showed his professional approach while debuting in one of the highest-pressure situations, an elimination game. He hits lefties. He hits righties. He just plain out hits. Fans can hope that he showcases a rare combination of hitting and hitting for power that can make him a generational talent.

How would you rank these players? Does someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

-Power Tool Prospects

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14 Comments

I know it is spring training and all but Blankehorn has looked a bit lost at the plate at times.He started out well being patient and drawing walks but now he just seems geared up to swing at anything.If he isn't looking for where the ball is going and just guessing I don't see that working out.I also have seen a lot more swing and miss to his game than I would have hoped.He is a big guy though and with a bit more seasoning he could be a really good player.I just haven't seen it yet in the games I have watched him.

 

Not sure what to think of Soularie.Lot's of scouts don't like the swing but the numbers kind of speak to his success so not certain what the disconnect there is.He also supposedly has a good eye at the plate which generally bodes well for being a good hitter.I doubted the Twins on Jeffers so am going to trust them on Soularie for now.

    • mikelink45 and Doctor Gast like this

Only 3 players project to have an above average bat in the system. Ouch

    • Twins33, mikelink45, Dman and 1 other like this
Photo
Doctor Gast
Mar 12 2021 06:40 AM
I expected Lewis to be #3. His last competitive level was AFL (the cream of the minors), he was MVP. I'm sure a good part of that was his hitting. Last year we didn't hear much from St Paul but what we heard was that Lewis was one of the best if not best hitters there. I know a lot of so called experts don't like high leg kicks but many of the great hitters have it. I believe he needs to quiet his hands to hit in the majors, I believe he has been working on that the last couple of years. It doesn't surprise me that he's not on the list but he should be.
    • ashbury, SgtSchmidt11 and DocBauer like this

Great read. Sabato's really intriguing too. Longenhagen has him at 55 FV for both hit and game power, and his defensive limitations are the main thing holding back his prospect stock. From a purely hitting standpoint I'm looking forward to what we see in full-season ball.

    • Dman likes this

I echo the question about Royce Lewis. I thought his hit tool was considered near-elite.

    • SgtSchmidt11 and mikelink45 like this

I am a little disappointed by this list.Kiriloff and Larnach are not surprises, but below them the list looks weak. For his minor league career Blankenhorn has a 325 OBP and a 431 slugging with a 257 AV - that is not a hitting tool and yet he is rated number 3.We will hope Sabato and Wallner and others will rise.I would put Celestino at three with a career 274 and an OBP of 346.

 

Then lets hope when Lewis comes back he jumps to the top with his speed and potential. 

    • Dman, DocBauer and ToddlerHarmon like this

Agree with comments on Lewis, how are guys that are barely in top 20 Twins prospect list above someone who is top 2 on every list?I get it is specific to hit tool, but how can you be top 2 on a team, 17th overall by MLB top 100 not even in top 5?Where did you find these projections? I see MLB list has Lewis at a 60 hit tool, which is tied with Kirilloff and ahead of the rest.  

    • SgtSchmidt11, mikelink45 and DocBauer like this

I have to agree with Old Nurse about the bats.....I don't feel good about Blankenhorn being on any of our "best lists" as well.Larnach and Kiriloff make me forget all of that though!:)

I don’t have a problem with the exclusion of Lewis on this list. There have been questions about his hit tool from day one and he hasn’t exactly quieted them. When the best argument for inclusion is the weakness of the list, it’s not much of an endorsement. I also wouldn’t argue his inclusion toward the bottom. It is what it is...but, I don’t think the Twins are unique here as the hit and other tools whither into near-irrelevance compared to Power in the modern game.

 

Gabriel Maciel?

    • DocBauer likes this

I think Jose Miranda has an above average hit tool projection, and also Misael Urbina and Emmanuel Rodriquez.

    • DocBauer likes this

Celestino has been very impressive to me and could be a big surprise.

    • DocBauer likes this

I could see an OF of Kirilloff LF, Celestino CF, and Larnach RF. Not as great defensively as Rosie Buck and Kep, but offensively, these guys might wind up driving in a lot more runs. 

    • mikelink45 and DocBauer like this
I have real hope that Blankenhorn is going to be a valuable role player at several positions, hit decently, and bring some bench power. Just not convinced on the "hit" tool yet.

Misael Urbina should maybe be on the list despite his youth.

You want a dark horse candidate? Spencer Steer. His numbers improved across the board every year in college and he had a nice debut season.

I would go:  

 

1.) Kirilloff

2.) Larnach

3.) Lewis

4.) Soularie

5.) Celestino.

 

Sabato, Steer and Urbina should be considered as well. 


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