Minnesota Twins: Alex Kirilloff’s Bat needs to be the Answer

Alex Kirilloff of the Minnesota Twins looks on against the Kansas City Royals.
Alex Kirilloff of the Minnesota Twins looks on against the Kansas City Royals. /

The Minnesota Twins lost one of their hottest bats when the team announced on May 4th that they were placing rookie first baseman/outfielder Alex Kirilloff on the 10-day injured list with a sprained right wrist.

He injured it two days earlier in a game against the Texas Rangers while sliding into second base. This was a major disappointment to the team and to Kirilloff because he was in the middle of a torrid hitting streak.

Kirilloff started the season at the Twin’s alternate training site in St. Paul. Alex was called up on April 27 as the 27th player right before a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox. Then outfielders Max Kepler and Kyle Garlick were placed on the COVID-19 list and his playing time increased.

He started the season in a dreadful fashion, going 0-14 after his call up, and the thought was that maybe he had been rushed up and that he was destined to return to St. Paul and start the season with the Triple-A Saints.

But in Kirilloff’s last four games for the Minnesota Twins before his stint on the IL, he was on fire at the plate. Over that span of time, he hit four home runs, two doubles, drove in ten runs, and scored seven runs. He batted .500 over these last four games with a whopping 1.667 slugging percentage.

This was just a glimpse of the success he has had at every level of baseball he has played at. The Twins drafted Alex with the fifteenth pick in the 2016 Amateur Draft out of Pittsburgh’s Plum High School.

From there he played a summer of Rookie League ball for the Elizabethton Twins, where he started his professional bat magic by hitting .306 with 33 RBIs in 55 games. He received the Appalachian League MVP award, but his season was cut short when he partially tore his elbow. This led to a Tommy John surgery which forced him to miss the entire 2017 season.

But he came back strong in 2018, first with the Cedar Rapids Kernels and then after a promotion, with the Fort Myers Miracle. His slash line for the entire season was an impressive .348/.392/.578.

Kirilloff started the 2019 season on the injured list with a wrist sprain. He did come back strong though, hitting 9 home runs and 43 RBIs for the Double-A Pensacola Wahoos. He was tabbed to play in the Arizona Fall League with the Salt River Rafters after his Wahoos season ended.

Then the pandemic hit and as we all know, the entire 2020 minor league season was cancelled. He kept in baseball shape working out with other Minnesota Twins prospects at CHS Field in St. Paul. On September 30 of that year, he became only the third player in the modern era to make his major league debut in the postseason. He started in right field that night and went 1-4.

The future looked bright for Alex as the 2021 season approached. And despite the slow start, he was becoming a force at the plate before his most recent injury. The good news is, Kirilloff is scheduled to take swings this week.

He could return to play after that, but there is still a chance that the injury could require surgery. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that no surgery is required.

Kirilloff will have to come back strong to help the Minnesota Twins get out of their doldrums. He along with Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson, and Byron Buxton will be expected to deliver much of the firepower for the team. Here’s hoping that the kid comes back healthy and helps lead the Twins to the playoffs.

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