Kirilloff gave Minnesota Twins fans a glimpse into his immense potential when he hit four home runs in a three-game stretch. Because this is 2021, he landed on the IL with an injured wrist just a game later and hasn’t been the same since.
Kirilloff homered in both games of his rehab assignment with the Saints, but his power has been non-existent since returning to the Twins. Here’s a look at some of the numbers.
|Before IL||Since IL|
|K% / BB%||29.5 / 2.2||25.0 / 7.4|
|Avg. Exit Velo||96.7 mph||90.1 mph|
Luckily, the dip in power production has come along with some more hits falling in and gains in regard to both strikeouts and walks. But that’s case closed, right? The dip in power is all the result of the wrist injury. Probably, but Kirilloff is also being pitched a lot differently since his return from the IL.
|Before IL||Since IL|
Kirilloff was already seeing a shortage of fastballs before he got hurt — across the league, pitchers are throwing fastballs 57.3% of the time — but since his return fastballs have been even fewer and further between. This is particularly significant because Kirilloff has murdered fastballs.
If we’re taking the stance that the wrist injury has sapped his power, which I think is legit, then his pre-IL performance should be viewed as more representative of who he is. Here’s a look at how Kirilloff was performing prior to the injury using xwOBA, with the league averages included for context.
|xwOBA||Kirilloff (pre IL)||Leage Average|
So Kirilloff is both trying to hit with a wrist that’s less than 100% and being served a diet of breaking balls usually reserved for established middle of the order hitters.
Welcome to The Show, kid.
Here's where I take a page out of my four-year-old's book and tantrum about how IT'S NOT FAIR!!! Other rookies get to come up and slaughter a steady dose of fastballs while our guy get's hampered by a wrist injury and pitched to like he's the next Babe Ruth. Anyway ...
While Kirilloff has been doing a better job at controlling his plate appearances, maybe the best thing he can do for himself right now, that .611 post-IL OPS is disappointing. As a result, I think he may be pressing. At least that’s the conclusion I’ve come to in explaining the couple bizarre plays he was involved in Sunday in Kansas City. Here’s a video with more on that.
*All data in this article is via Baseball Savant.