Twins add Kirilloff for MLB debut in playoffs
Alex Kirilloff thrived in his last postseason appearance. He'll get a chance under an even brighter spotlight. The Twins have added MLB Pipeline's No. 27 overall prospect to their roster for the Wild Card Series against the Astros, which began Tuesday afternoon with a 4-1 loss. "Alex Kirilloff is ready
The Twins have added MLB Pipeline's No. 27 overall prospect to their roster for the Wild Card Series against the Astros, which began Tuesday afternoon with a 4-1 loss.
"Alex Kirilloff is ready to play in the big leagues," Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters. "I don’t think anyone, anybody who has ever spent any time around him, knows him, watched him this year over in St. Paul, would question that. It’s a move that once you get a chance to know the player and the person, you’re excited to make."
Kirilloff spent the entire regular season at the Twins' alternate training site in St. Paul but was not called up during the 60-game schedule. However,
Kirilloff -- a left-handed-hitting outfielder/first baseman -- was a first-round pick by the Twins back in 2016. He missed all of what would have been his first full season in 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The Pittsburgh-area native rebounded nicely the following year and hit .348/.392/.578 with 20 homers in 130 games between Class A Cedar Rapids and Class A Advanced Fort Myers. His 71 extra-base hits led the Minor Leagues in the 2018 season. Kirilloff's 2019 was plagued by wrist issues that limited him to 92 games and a .282/.343/.413 line and nine homers for Double-A Pensacola. However, he looked better as the season wore on and he got further away from the wrist injuries; five of his nine homers came after August, and he went 8-for-21 (.381) with four more dingers in the Southern League playoffs.
By all indications, Kirilloff hit well at the alternate site, prompting the Twins to feel comfortable giving him his first taste of the Majors in such a big spot. His hit and power tools both have above-average potential, with the former being slightly ahead of the latter. He's spent most of his time in the Minors in right field but played 35 games at first base in 2019.
"I was really surprised," Kirilloff said of the promotion. "Definitely happy and excited for the opportunity. We've stayed ready all summer. It’s really the same thing. If there is an opportunity and we're needed, our job is to stay ready and do our best."
If Kirilloff does appear in a game against the Astros, the Twins' No. 2 prospect will become the first player in team history to make his debut in the postseason.
Rays add McClanahan: The Twins aren't the only team trusting players with no Major League experience in the Wild Card round. Tampa Bay announced Tuesday that No. 6 prospect
McCormick could blast off for Astros: The Minnesota-Houston series could feature not one but two Major League debuts. The Astros announced that No. 24 prospect
Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.