3 reasons why a healthy Alex Kirilloff is crucial for the Twins
Twins Need a Left-Handed Bat at the Top of the Lineup
Following the trade that sent Luis Arraez to the Marlins for Pablo Lopez and others, the Twins find themselves without the reigning AL Batting Champion and a key left-handed bat at the top of the lineup. Why is the latter important? The Twins are now even more right-hand heavy at the top.
In order of OPS (on base % + slugging %), the Twins six top hitters last season were Royce Lewis (12 games), Carlos Correa (R), Byron Buxton (R), Luis Arraez (L), Gio Urshela (R), and Jose Miranda (R). Removing Arraez, Urshela, and even Lewis leaves three RH bats carrying the load.
Additionally, the AL Central is loaded with right-handed starting pitching talent. Dylan Cease, Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Shane Bieber, Triston McKenzie, Cal Quantrill, Casey Mize, Spencer Turnbull, Matt Manning, Zack Greinke, and Brady Singer are all tough righties the Twins will see.
Luckily for the Twins, they don't have a shortage of left-handed bats on the roster: Nick Gordon, Max Kepler, Polanco (switch), Joey Gallo, Trevor Larnach, Matt Wallner, and most importantly (in my opinion) Alex Kirilloff. However, these lefties haven't proven they can be a consistent bat at the top.
This is where Alex Kirilloff can emerge as a lefty weapon the Twins have sorely needed. Using 2018 as an example (his only healthy minor league season), Kirilloff tee'd off on right-handed pitching: In 421 PA's, his slash line was .343/ .394/ .586 with 14 HR's and 70 RBI's against them.
I firmly believe he can regain the form he displayed throughout his minor league career if his wrist is truly healthy. As a result, a healthy Alex Kirilloff would undoubtedly be the left-handed bat the Twins need at the top of the lineup.