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Alex Kirilloff Should Make his Twins Debut in 2020

Alex Kirilloff, the Twins No. 2 prospect and a top 15 prospect in baseball, has been pushing to make it to the big league club over the last two seasons. There were a lot of rumors last September about a potential call-up that never occurred. Could 2020 be his year to finally debut with the Twins?
Image courtesy of © Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Kirilloff 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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32 Comments

My apologies for participating in a hijacking of this thread and pledge to stay on topic going forward. 
 
Having said that, I have been a firm believer that Kirrilloff and Lewis will both push their ways onto the Major League Roster this coming year and not just as September call ups but actually push their way up. I do not think we will be able to hold him down until 2021.


I hope you are right. I am very excited about his potential as well as Lewis's and Graterol's. I am hoping all 3 are with thr Twins and actively contribiting at some point, if not a chunk of the season.

I would nuance all these mentions of possibly calling Kirilloff up in September, in light of the reduction in roster size next season (26 through August 31, no more than 28 in September). AK presumably could well be among two late season additions, depending on injuries and the like, but added pitching would be at least as likely, imo.

    • SQUIRREL and birdwatcher like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Nov 13 2019 12:09 PM

He'll be up when he's ready or traded for impact pitching... I'm fine either way there, but no way I hand him a job in 2020 or even expect him to get it... Let him force his way on to the roster. 

    • SQUIRREL and DocBauer like this
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Major League Ready
Nov 15 2019 09:56 AM

 

I would think the fact he can play both 1B and OF will get him here quicker. The scouting reports I found are old. How does he compare to Larnach as an OFer? Is Rooker destined for 1B? He does not seem to be an OF solution. I could see him being brought up mid-season if Cron does not produce, assuming Cron is signed.

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stringer bell
Nov 15 2019 10:41 AM

The way I see it is that Kirlloff is projected as being the best hitter of the host of prospects (Larnach, Raley, Rooker) all in the upper minors. He would have to demonstrate his "eliteness" over the others and show that he is too good a hitter for the IL or maybe the AA Southern League. IIRC, he was outstanding in the playoffs for Pensacola, which was another reason why the rumors of a recall were being heard. 

 

With that number of bat-first prospects, at least three of whom have played first base, I can see why bringing back Cron might not happen. Further, that is a lot of material for a trade. My guess on trade value would be 1) Kirilloff 2) Larnach 3) Rooker and 4) Raley.

    • birdwatcher likes this

IMO, he starts in AA, Then I hope he is awesome and forces his way to AAA pretty quickly, then will play there until a spot opens on the major league squad, if one never opens up he will be called up in September and after that the Twins will decide where the right spot is on the major league roster.

If he doesn't force his way to AAA pretty quickly, he probably won't see the majors this year.

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ScrapTheNickname
Nov 15 2019 01:37 PM

Kiriloff and Larnach are both 22-year-old right fielders. Of Rosario, Buxton, and Kepler, Rosario will be the first to be replaced; however, he is a left-fielder. Would someone tell me what is going on?


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