Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account
  • entries
    889
  • comments
    3,666
  • views
    1,570,837

Kirilloff’s Confusing Decision


Ted Schwerzler

5,114 views

 Share

Twins Video

The Minnesota Twins decided that Alex Kirilloff was the best option for their Postseason elimination game, but following a lackluster spring, he wasn’t a fit for the Opening Day roster. Let the second guessing commence.

As Rocco Baldelli breaks camp with a 26-man roster top prospect Alex Kirilloff will not be on it. He won’t travel with the big-league club to Milwaukee, and the assumption would be that he’ll remain in St. Paul across town until sometime near May 1. This affords the Twins a business-first opportunity, but also gives them some different options in terms of roster flexibility.

 

It should’ve been assumed that Brent Rooker would crack the Opening Day club. He had a solid showing with Minnesota in 2020 and has more than held his own this spring. Kyle Garlick could force his way into the picture with a strong Spring Training and 40-man roster spot, as could non-roster invitee Keon Broxton. The decision also leaves the door open for another utility type, namely Willians Astudillo should Rocco want the three-catcher flexibility.

 

There’s really no problem with the Twins deciding to keep Kirilloff in the minors, but it’s certainly little more than a business first decision. Sure, he’s been beyond mediocre this spring. A .440 OPS through 31 at bats is nothing pretty, but the flip side is the reality of that sample size. He’s played in 12 games, generating a total of 33 plate appearances. Less then seven months ago he was the answer for Minnesota despite a grand total of zero plate appearances in games that tracked statistics.

 

 

From a service time standpoint in the current CBA landscape, Kirilloff would afford the Twins an extra year of control if they keep him in the minors for a matter of weeks. The problem is that the CBA is set to expire following the 2020 season, and much has been made about the implications of service time and team control as a whole. In short, the entirety of the business-first side of this coin could become moot in less than 12 months.

 

There’s no guarantee that Minnesota is worse off without Kirilloff out of the gate that they are some platoon featuring Rooker, Garlick, or Luis Arraez. However, what happens in April still counts and the division is expected to be hotly contested by the Chicago White Sox. Dream on a scenario in which Minnesota finishes second by just a couple of games, or their Postseason seeding is impacted, and it’s worth wondering if they’d have decided to start on a different foot from the get-go.

 

Alex Kirilloff beginning the 2021 season in the minor leagues during a season in which he’d get actual at bats makes some sense. It makes much less in a year where he’ll see no game action until May, and then seemingly be determined ready by the big-league club. Here’s to hoping that whenever he debuts the mashing will commence, but the timing of questionable decision making here will be worth scrutinizing as the calendar flips forward.

 

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

 Share

22 Comments


Recommended Comments

I do not know why anyone would think there are no spring training games in April for the minor league players

 

Maybe I’m misunderstanding you, but there are no spring training games for minor leaguers in March, and there’s no season until May. Yes, there is spring camp in April. Vastly different

Link to comment

Do you think the players are just hoping to sit on their butts for a month. There are a lot of fields for the teams to play on in spring training facilities. They do it all spring, unless there are mass mirages by multiple people. I couldn't tell you if they keep statistics. I would also think it would be safe to assume that they are all being watched, and coached. If you want to think that teams will do mo development of their players for a month, fine.  The conditions of last year are not totally repeated. 

Link to comment

Spring training stats are an enigma.  Kris Bryant has a great statistical spring and then the stats mean something so it was a travesty that he was sent down.  Kirilloff has horrible stats this spring, but hey, we can dismiss those because he got a hit in one playoff game and spring stats don't mean anything.  Which is it people make up your minds.

 

I don't know if you have watched him bat this spring but he looks tentative hasn't hit the ball hard when I have seem except for the HR.  He doesn't look ready to me via the eye test or box score.  

 

So what are we saying here the numbers don't matter and pedigree is how you build your team?  Let's bring up all of our great prospects then because they have performed well in AA and deserve to start in MLB.  Is that what we are saying?

 

I personally don't get the controversy.  The last time Alex played in 2019 he had 756 OPS at AA.  I know he had wrist issues but still those are the last numbers we have.  He has one hit in a MLB playoff game and 460 OPS in spring training.  Is this a player you would want to start in MLB?  I can give you thousands of players over the years with better stats than that that still had to play in AAA before getting a shot and probably hundreds of guys with those stats that never even made it.

 

The Twins all but wanted to hand him left field all he had to was put up some reasonable numbers this spring or at the very least sting the ball most of the time to make the team feel comfortable starting him.  He did not produce end of story.  He gave the FO virtually no choice but to send him down and make sure he would be ready to face the challenges ahead.  Also Rooker and Garlick his direct competition have 900 OPS's and above in meaningless spring training stats.  In fact the slugging percentage for both of them is higher than Alex's OPS.  So we send those two down in the hopes that Kirilloff catches fire?

 

Honestly he made it almost impossible for the FO to bring him north with the team.

Link to comment
He was sent down because he didn't perform. He still has that high ceiling but he just doesn't look ready yet.

 

Multiple things can be true at the same time. He had an ugly spring, but if he was intended to be the starting LF’er and now isn’t because of 30 poor ABs then that’s a bad look. I’d wager more that he wasn’t ever intended to be the starting LF, solely because Rooker and Cave both were ahead of him anyways. He could’ve played himself into the role, yes. The Twins can gain a year of service time by keeping him down, yes. A bad 30 ABs shouldn’t be enough to change a decision making process, and I’d assume that it didn’t. He’d for their hand or he wouldn’t, and he didn’t.

Link to comment

It may be true that Spring Training stats don’t mean much. Still, for someone like Alex Kirilloff, it does t mean nothing at all. He’s still a rookie and needs to earn his call-up to MLB.

I have very few doubts the he will do that sometime this season.

Link to comment

I agree with those who say that Kirilloff lost the competition for now. Given the projections for him, he should be with the Twins before the middle of June, but he will have to pick himself up after getting knocked down (figuratively).

 

I will be concerned whenever Rooker is playing in left field. I see that he was charged with his second error this spring (don't know if that is significant in and of itself). From the little I've seen of him, it appears he might be closer to Josh Willingham defensively than Eddie Rosario. While there were several "oh Eddie" moments, Rosario had sufficient range and a real strong arm. I have seen neither from Rooker. I realize that Kirilloff isn't noted for his glove either, but I don't think he's as limited as Rooker. If the Twins are ahead late, I presume we'll see Cave in left field.

Link to comment

There is absolutely nothing confusing about this decision. ST stats may not matter for vets, but they most certainly matter for rookies who are trying to make the team. Had he raked this spring, I'd agree that this is confusing. He didn't. 

 

Bottom line is that there was a competition for the job and he lost. Given how little experience he has in the high minors, some seasoning in AAA is certainly warranted. 

Link to comment

Rooker would've been the odd man out. And the guy showed last year and this spring that he deserves at least a chance. Rooker could also fit into the Twins longterm plays, as a potential fulltime DH, or an option for first base protection who can also play the outfield.

 

If Rooker didn't make the team this year, he would be gone from the Twins organization in short order.

 

So spring stats can count. Plus the role a player might play for the club (why Cave gets chosen over Garlick for the moment).

 

Now about WiIllians.....

Link to comment

Since it seemed to be a competition between he and Rooker and team could also just as easily manipulate Rooker's service time, I don't think there's anything malevolent here.

 

Kirilloff is going to get way more personalized instruction and see more live pitching in extended spring training than he would being the last man on the bench seeing one spot start a week and being last in line for the batting cages.

Link to comment

It’s hard to argue that there’s not more work for him to do...both in absolute terms and relative to Rooker. He’s still likely to surpass Rooker, but he shouldn’t be riding the pine in the majors in the meantime.

Link to comment

Agreed to the above sentiments. It's not like Rooker is a replacement-level vet the team is using to hold the spot for a month. He's a (somewhat) young guy with a chance to really help the team going forward, and he deserves a shot. This is a reasonable choice.

 

 

Link to comment

I agree with big dog. Rooker should get a chance to keep the LF job if in fact he opens the season in Milwaukee. I'd say the same for Cave if they play him on Day 1. If I were the FO, I would have to Kiriloff that no matter what his ST has gone that he is the guy in LF and he just needs to be one of nine every day. Let him struggle, thrive settle in as the season goes by. Maybe it's not his time yet? Maybe that's a next year decision for the FO.

Link to comment
If I were the FO, I would have to Kiriloff that no matter what his ST has gone that he is the guy in LF and he just needs to be one of nine every day. Let him struggle, thrive settle in as the season goes by.

 

What in the world are you attempting to say? I can't figure this out!

Link to comment

I am disappointed that Kiriloff was not given another week.  Baseball is notorious for slumps and he might have busted out just like we are hoping Buxton, Kepler, Sano, Garver, Cave all see their bats wake up.

 

I worry that Garlick is getting so much attention.  His BA is falling, his Ks are rising.  Yes he leads in HRs this spring (ST stats don't count?) but there are a lot of weaknesses as we say in the game yesterday. Five AB - one HR - 3 Ks

Link to comment
I worry that Garlick is getting so much attention.  His BA is falling, his Ks are rising.  Yes he leads in HRs this spring (ST stats don't count?) but there are a lot of weaknesses as we say in the game yesterday. Five AB - one HR - 3 Ks

 

Garlick isn’t going to factor into the Opening Day equation. It’ll be Rooker and Cave. If Kyle pushes for time with Jake sliding when games count, then look for that swap, maybe before Kirilloff even. Alex isn’t going to come up and platoon.

Link to comment
What in the world are you attempting to say? I can't figure this out!
i think the point is....We miss Eddie and we could have gotten Castillo for Kiriloff and Lewis. But not now.
Link to comment
Agreed to the above sentiments. It's not like Rooker is a replacement-level vet the team is using to hold the spot for a month. He's a (somewhat) young guy with a chance to really help the team going forward, and he deserves a shot. This is a reasonable choice.
you are kidding right?
Link to comment

with the amazing astronomical pitching depth

the Falvines have built i am sure Kiriloff will benefit immensely from taking batting practice for a month in St.paul.

Link to comment
Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...