With the Minnesota Twins outfield banged up and a division race coming down to the wire, could the Twins call up one of their top prospects?
Things are continuing to look rough for the Minnesota Twins outfield. As Byron Buxton has been battling a nagging shoulder injury since August, the Twins received more bad news when Max Kepler left Sunday’s loss to the Cleveland Indians due to what we now know is shoulder inflammation.
Although the Twins acquired Ryan LaMarre from the Braves on Sunday, it’s still clear that the Twins will need some reinforcements in the outfield even as Jake Cave projects to return from a groin injury soon. With the need for all hands on deck, it begs the question whether the Twins could get aggressive and go to the minor leagues for reinforcements.
If they do that, one name the Twins could call upon is Alex Kirilloff.
As the top prospect in the Twins’ organization according to Baseball America (subscription required), Kirilloff has dominated for Double-A Pensacola. Despite battling a pair of ailments that put him on the shelf during the opening weeks of the season, the outfielder’s body of work suggests he’s doing just fine as he hit .283 with nine home runs and 43 RBI in 94 games.
While Kirilloff’s numbers were down from his terrific 2018 campaign (.348, 20 HR, 101 RBI with Low-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Pensacola), it was still a solid second full season for the 15th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft.
To add his accomplishments, Kirilloff also completed a playoff run with the Blue Wahoos that saw Kirilloff homer in each of the four games of a playoff series with Biloxi and hit .381 for the five-game series, which ended on Sunday night.
Adding Kirilloff to the heat of a playoff race would be a dangerous proposition for the Twins, but may be necessary considering the current state of the Twins outfield. The Twins front office has already shown they aren’t afraid to promote players that could help a push to the team’s first division title since 2010, as they called up Brusdar Graterol earlier this month for a potential bullpen role.
Although Graterol’s debut in the majors hasn’t gone swimmingly, the Twins could call up Kirilloff to see if he’s ready at least until the return of Kepler and Cave to the everyday lineup. If things go well, Kirilloff could be an intriguing fourth outfielder that would allow the Twins not to use an infielder such as Luis Arraez in the outfield.
The odds of it happening aren’t likely, but what do the Twins have to lose?