The Minnesota Twins have graduated a lot of top prospects recently. Alex Kirilloff is part of the next group of Twins prospects and is having a great 2018.
The Minnesota Twins used their first round selection in 2016 on a prep outfielder out of Plum High School in Pittsburgh, PA. That outfielder is left-handed power hitter Alex Kirilloff. Now in 2018, as a member of the Cedar Rapids Kernels, Kirilloff has been tearing up the Midwest League.
After being drafted in 2016, Kirilloff entered the Appalachian League as an 18-year-old. In 55 games he hit .306/.341/.454 and hit nine doubles, a triple, and seven home runs while playing against players that were on average two and a half years older than himself. That first taste of professional baseball was cut short by an elbow injury that would eventually result in Tommy John surgery. Causing Kirilloff to miss all of 2017.
After rehabbing all last season, Kirilloff looks as strong as ever this season. Coming into the season he was ranked among the Twins top prospects. MLB Pipeline has Kirilloff ranked as the Twins No. 6 prospect and No. 99 overall. After this current season, it seems likely he will be climbing up those rankings.
In his age 20 season, he is hitting .328/.386/.602 with a .988 OPS. His batting average is third best in the Midwest League, slugging percentage and OPS are good for second, and he leads the league with 13 home runs. All this while being a little more than a year younger than his average competitor.
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One of the biggest questions surrounding Kirilloff from the time he was drafted was if he would be able to continue to defensively man a corner outfield position. It always looked like his bat would develop well but would his glove follow. To this point in 2018, he has gotten most of his defensive innings from the right-field corner and seems to be holding his own.
I was able to recently take in two games of the Kernels’ while they were visiting the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. While they were not great games for the team, I feel I got a glimpse of just how good Kirilloff is and can be. He seemed to have a good handle on ranging in the outfield making several good grabs. He also made a great throw from his spot in the outfield to third base to get a Timber Rattlers runner trying to tag up on a fly ball out.
Above all, his bat and approach at the plate stood out. Each time he made contact with the ball it sounded and looked like it had a chance to go somewhere. His best hit of the weekend was a ball lined down the first base foul line that he legged into a triple. Throughout the weekend he kept making me think of another Twins right fielder, Max Kepler. Kirilloff likely won’t be nearly as athletic as Kepler when he gets to the big league, but he physically looks like he could step on a major league field tomorrow and has that same lean, strong frame that Kepler does.
Kirilloff has made his mark on the Midwest League to this point in 2018 and it seems his time there is likely coming to an end. A promotion can’t be too far off for this Twins top prospect. The way he has looked to this point in 2018 the question may be just how far can he climb through the minors before the season’s end.