Age: 20 (DOB: 11/9/1997)
2017 Stats: Did Not Play- Tommy John surgery
National Top 100 Rankings
What’s To Like
Kirilloff’s bat and approach at the plate have always been his ticket to the big leagues. During his professional debut, the Twins had him skip the GCL and head straight to the Appalachian League. Across 216 at-bats, he hit .306/.341/.454 with 17 extra-base hits and a 32 to 11 strikeout to walk ratio. He was able to put up these kind of numbers while being 2.5 years younger than the competition in the Appy League. In fact, he never faced a pitcher younger than himself in over 230 plate appearances.
On the defensive side of the ball, Kirilloff has shown the ability to play all three outfield positions. The majority of his time was spent in right field as he projects as a corner outfielder at the big league level. In just over 400 professional innings, he has seven outfield assists. Overall, he has the tools and athleticism to handle either corner outfield position.
Kirilloff’s has been praised for his high baseball IQ and his strong work ethic. His father instructs youth on hitting so Kirilloff has been raised around the game of baseball. Being off the field for over a year might have been a good thing for Kirilloff as there are rumors of him adding 25-30 pounds since he last suited up.
What’s Left To Work On
For players drafted out of high school, there are always questions about how they will grow into their bodies. When the Twins drafted Kirilloff, he was already 6’2” and 195 pounds. Seth recently had Kiriloff on his podcast and he asked him about the rumors that he’s added 30 pounds of weight.
For a player that hasn’t seen game action in quite some time, there will likely be some rust to shake off during spring training. More power should come if he has added 15-20 pounds. Like he told Seth, he feels stronger now and that could be dangerous for pitchers in the Midwest League.
Some teams might want to rush a player after missing an entire year. Minnesota isn’t in a hurry with Kirilloff. “I don’t think you need to rush him too much,” Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey told MLB.com. “We’re not too worried about the timeline. We’ll just make sure he’s in a good place physically to hit the ground running. But he feels good and just wants to get going. It’s hard when a guy misses a year like that and has to hit the reset button.”
Kirilloff has a positive attitude as he heads into the 2018 campaign. “I’d never had a significant injury like that before to cause me to miss that much time so it was hard at first,” Kirilloff said at TwinsFest. “But there were two ways to look at it. You can look at it as a lost year and be down on yourself the whole time or look at it as a new challenge to get better. So that’s what I tried to do. My body feels a lot stronger and I’m excited for 2018.”
He should start the year at Cedar Rapids, unless there is some rust to work off and then he could stay in extended spring training. He could end up in the same line-up as last year’s top pick Royce Lewis. Minnesota doesn’t have any plans to move Kirilloff faster because of his missed time in 2017.
TD Top Prospects: #1-4 (Coming Soon)