Twins Daily 2019 Top Prospects: #2 Alex Kirilloff
Age: 21 (DOB: 11/9/1997)
2018 Stats (Low-A/High-A): .348/.392/.578, 44 2B, 20 HR, 7 3B, 4-for-7 in stolen base attempts
2018 Ranking: 5
National Top 100 Rankings
BA: 31 |MLB: 9 | ESPN: 11 |BP: 39
What’s To Like
Kirilloff can hit. That might be the understatement of the century. He might be the best hitting prospect in the minor leagues not named Vladimir Guerrero Jr. He’s been hitting for his entire life, as his dad runs baseball camps and clinics. He could have shown some rust last season, but he quickly made it known that he would be a force to be reckoned with.
He started the season in Cedar Rapids and hit .333/.391/.607 with 38 extra-base hits in 65 games. Among Midwest League hitters with at least 280 at-bats, his .999 OPS was the highest. Once he was promoted Fort Myers, he continued to hit. In 65 games in the Florida State League, he hit .362/.393/.550 with 33 extra-base hits. He led the Twins system in hits, doubles, and RBI. His 71 total extra-base hits and 296 total bases each led the minor leagues.
At season’s end, the accolades came rolling in. The Twins named him the Twins Minor League Player of the Year and Twins Daily named him the Minor League Hitter of the Year. MiLB.com named him as the Breakout Prospect of the Year. He represented the Twins in MLB’s Futures Game during All-Star Weekend. He was also a midseason and post-season All-Star in the Midwest League.
Kirilloff can spray the ball all over the field. His spray chart from last season is a thing of beauty (see below). Even with a left-handed swing, he has power to the opposite field. In fact, he had more doubles and more home runs to the opposite field than from pulling the ball.
What’s Left To Work On
Kirilloff destroyed the ball last season so there was really no reason for him to try to draw a ton of walks. He is very aggressive at the plate and so his OBP was only slightly higher than his batting average. As he gets closer to the big leagues, hitting against more advanced pitchers could mean that he will need to be more patient. He knows the strike zone well and he will need to continue to prove that at Double- and Triple-A.
His year off following Tommy John surgery might have been a blessing in disguise. For months, he wasn’t able to work on his swing, so he was able to develop his core and the lower half of his body. “It was total body strength,” he told MiLB.com. “I wanted to get all-around stronger. When they make you come in and work out every day, you don’t really have much choice. You’re going to get stronger. Everything happens for a reason, and maybe that was what I needed.”
On the defensive side of the ball, he played some center field in high school, so he has plenty of athletic ability. As he has bulked up in the minors, he has moved to a corner outfield spot. At some point, he might need to move to first base, but he has a good arm and should be able to stick in right field.
OK, that might be a stretch, but his bat could carry him to Minnesota by season’s end. Minnesota could decide to keep him at Fort Myers to start the year, but it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if he started the year in Pensacola. Prospects of his caliber don’t necessarily need time at Triple-A so he could be called up directly from Double-A.
Minnesota’s outfield is full at the moment with Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, and Eddie Rosario. However, an injury or poor play by one of these players could expedite Kirilloff’s timeline. Right now, I think his bat could hold its own at the big league level.
Twins Daily 2019 Top 20 Prospects
20. Jose Miranda, 2B/3B
19. Jorge Alcala, RHP
18. LaMonte Wade, OF
17. Zack Littell, RHP
16. Gilberto Celestino, OF
15. Yunior Severino, 2B
14. Ben Rortvedt, C
13. Ryan Jeffers, C
12. Stephen Gonsalves, LHP
11. Nick Gordon, SS
10. Akil Baddoo, OF
9. Blayne Enlow, RHP
8. Lewis Thorpe, LHP
7. Jhoan Duran, RHP
6. Brent Rooker, 1B/LF
5. Wander Javier, SS
4. Trevor Larnach, OF
3. Brusdar Graterol, RHP
2. Alex Kirilloff, OF
TD Top Prospects: #1- COMING TOMORROW
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