Coming into every season there’s nothing prospect writers love more than calling a breakout. The problem is we’re often wrong. For every Ronald Acuna we call, there’s a Yadier Alvarez or an Austin Hays. But sometimes the broken clocks of the baseball world are right, though twice a day seems like a bit much for the best of us. In this vein, let’s look at a breakout I alluded to earlier this year when I aggressively ranked the Twins Alex Kirilloff 73rd on my pre-season Top 100. Today we’ll take examine the 20 year old phenom, his strengths as a hitter, and why you should be adding him in any format where he is unowned. Because we’re all lucky enough to have Lance Brozdowski as our over the internet friend, this task has been made a little easier. As Lance just so happened to catch Kirilloff’s last stand in the Midwest League at the All-Star Game in Lansing this Tuesday. Here’s a clip from Kirilloff’s all-star game exploits below.

The Pennsylvania prep talent, was a compelling player heading into the 2016 draft. A home schooled prep talent, Kirilloff worked out a deal to play his high school ball for Plum High School. After leading Plum to WPIAL and PIAA runner-up finishes in 2016, while playing both ways he starred as both a hurler and an outfielder. Kirilloff impressed at Plum and on the showcase circuit throughout 2016, and the outfielder/pitcher began to gain steam in pre-draft rankings. The Twins settled upon Kirilloff as their pick at 15th overall, and signed him for an “at slot” amount of $2.8 million. They decided to forego the usual path for prep bats of at least a few weeks, if not months, in the Gulf Coast League in favor of the more advanced Appalachian League. A very aggressive assignment for the prep star. The Twins were no fools however, as the decision proved to be a wise one, as Kirilloff hit .306/.341/.454 with 7 home runs, 9 doubles, and 33 RBI, winning the Appy League MVP. An elbow injury on August 28th cut his season short, but was not expected to be anything major… we thought.

Expectations were immense heading into 2017, as Kirilloff was ranked highly on prospect lists. Not just in the Twins system either, but throughout the industry. Then disaster struck. The elbow injury that cut short his debut, did indeed require surgery, and the decision to go under the knife was made in late February. It’s often out of sight out of mind for prospects when injuries strike. We don’t get nearly as many updates as we do on big leagues players, and they’re easily replaceable for many just looking for a shiny new toy (aren’t we all?), and not obsessed with development. What we forgot was the balance, picturesque lefty stroke, the lightning quick hands, and the natural ability to recognize pitches. What returned was even better than we remembered. Unable to play baseball over the course of his recovery, he watched a lot of ball, and worked his lower half, adding 30+ lbs of muscle. This should have been the first inclination that the beast was lurking.

Assigned to the star-studded Cedar Rapids roster of the Midwest League, Kirilloff joined fellow top Twins prospects Royce Lewis, Brusdar Graterol, and personal favorite Akil Baddoo. The lefty slugger stood out from the rest. That goes for his highly touted teammates, as well as the rest of the Midwest League. He slashed .333/.391/.607, with 13 homers, 36 runs, 56 RBI, and a wRC+ of 171 in 65 games. He ranked within the top 5 in hits, doubles, triples, RBI, homers, batting average, slugging, wOBA, and wRC+ in the Midwest League. So the promotion yesterday evening to high-A Fort Myers of the Florida State League came as no surprise. After seeing his last taste of Midwest League baseball at Tuesday’s All-Star Game here’s what Lance had to say based on his observations.

He felt like a line-drive, gap-to-gap hitter in person. Stayed inside and hit three balls hard to left-center in the Midwest League ASG. But knowing he hit 13 HRs in ~60 games made me really interested in seeing a HR spray chart, especially because his swing has natural loft. I’d bet he puts an above average amount of balls out to LF and can tap into plus power on his pull side. I’m enamored with hit tool and power blend.” – Lance Brozdowski (baseball life partner)

Pretty hefty praise for a 20 year old. Lance’s loves the swing, and it’s hard not to when you see him driving balls all over the field, with great plate coverage, and superior bat control. It will be interesting to see how high Kirilloff ascends this season, with a late season date in AA Chattanooga is not out of the realm of possibility.

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  1. Sport says:
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    Great write up as always. Now I have to figure out how to get him.

    I just took over a deep AL only league in fantrax. Deep minor rosters but there are still a few names available. Yandy Diaz, Danny Diaz, Kevin Smith, Yunior Severino, Kyle Cody, Coleman Brennan, Christian Javier, Arredondo, and Deatherage. Any of these names jump out as a must grabs? Roster them all or are there names to leave off?

    Rowdy Tellez is on the team already and I haven’t heard his name in over a year it seems. Also on the team is Bobby Dalbec.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Sport: Dalbec and Rwody for Javier and Severno

  2. Scott says:
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    Fanboy here digging for attention! Midseason prospect draft help!

    Who are your 2-3 favorites from this list:

    Nolan Jones, Wander Franco (TB Varietal), Brusdar Graterol, Gavin Lux, Jeter Downs, Esteury Ruiz, Daulton Varsho, Jeisso Rosario, Tirso Ornelas, Nolan Gorman, Jordyn Adams, Ethan Hankins

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Scott:Give me Jones and Tirso. That’s a serious list, you can’t go wrong.

      • Scott says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: phew, glad my endless hours of scouting baseball players who cant drink a beer yet is paying off

        i love jones and tirso! i thought theyd be a bit more under the radar and will drop, but now im tempted to reach on them

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Scott: They might drop, but as much as I love Graterol he’s a pitcher with injury history.

  3. Jason says:
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    Kiriloff over Michel Baez or Luis Urias in a dynasty league?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Jason: Yes

  4. Douglas Johnson says:
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    Called up to High A today. Good article!

  5. Al KOHOLIC says:
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    Thanks King Ralph great article once again. Makes my 3 keeper leagues so much more fun when I’m ahead of them on prospects

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Al KOHOLIC: Thanks Al!

  6. Drew says:
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    Kiriloff or Brandon Marsh as my NA stash in a 16-team OPS keeper? Can keep up to 6 MILBers a year.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Drew: Kirilloff

  7. Ryan says:
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    Thanks for the great write-up, Ralph. I was at the MWL ASG as well and while most everybody else could barely touch anything off-speed, Kirilloff seemed to square up pretty much everything. Royce did as well but exited early. Kirilloff got a game’s worth of ABs and between that and they’re HR derby, the potential stood out clearly from everybody else in that game (save Royce). He’s going to be a player for sure. Glad to see the immediate promotion today too.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Ryan: He’s really a special bat.

  8. tyler o'neill's popeye spinach biceps says:
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    thank for turning on my radar!

    kirilloff or heliot ramos in dynasty?

    • c says:
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      @tyler o’neill’s popeye spinach biceps: They’re going to be very different players in fantasy. Kirilloff reminds me of Jay Bruce (in the minors Bruce was a BEAST). Ramos seems more of a McCutchen-type (if he reaches his ceiling….still a LONG way off). I still say Kirilloff over Ramos and I own both everywhere.

  9. primetime says:
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    Whos the top 5 minor league going into next season?

    Any chance we see Rodger and Tatis this season. Rockies and Padres playing well.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @primetime: Vlad, Eloy, Tatis, Adell, and Rodgers.

      Nah, I think both of them stay down.

      • Captain James T Kirk says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:

        So you prefer Adell over Tucker and Kirilloff? Or are you thinking Tucker gets called up this year?

        How would you rank/compare Kirilloff, Adell and Yordan Alvarez? Those are three guys I have my eye on. The thing that scares me most about Adell is the strike out to walk rate.

  10. Donald R Berkey says:
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    Thanks for the information on Kirilloff. How would you rank Trammell, Yordan Alvarez and Kirilloff ? Thank you.

    • c says:
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      @Donald R Berkey: Man, that’s a tough one. Yordan seems to be tapping into his power more consistently and Trammell is more a 5-tool guy. Personally, I’d go:

      Trammell – Kirilloff – Alvarez

      But it’s really close.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @c: AGree

  11. Luvdarooks says:
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    When tucker comes up how many games a week do you think marwin Gonzales will get to play?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Luvdarooks: 3? That’s really a wait and see thing.

  12. jose H. says:
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    Ralph,
    who is the NL version if Alex Kirilloff?

    • Kenster73 says:
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      @jose H.: Keep an eye on Calvin Mitchell, OF, PIT and hope the Dodgers trade Edwin Rios, 1B/3B/OF, LAD,

  13. Gfhyde says:
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    Trying to get this kid. Is Stroman for Florial+Kirilloff a decent deal for me in a 20tm dynasty Ralph? Trying to trade Stro asap and that’s the deal I’m working on.

Comments are closed.