Minnesota Twins 2016: Draft Review Pt. 1

Lead MLB draft analyst for Scout Jeff Ellis takes a look at how the Twins top 2016 draft picks faired in their first season. He starts with a look at top pick Alex Kirilloff, and his successful transition to the minors.

The first thing I want to say is that this is not a grade. I would not want to give a grade on any player after half a season. This is more a chance to look at and see how a player did with their first experience in the minors. The caveat here is that some guys struggle for a year or two and then put it all together while others look amazing year one and then never find that success again. This can often be the case with college players who end up facing young competition when they first enter the minors.

I am starting this piece with the current draft order and going back through each draft class, checking in on the top 11 rounds. I don’t go further because, while great players can and often are found later, it is not the focus area for the teams either. I go 11 deep because, while the top 10 are the most important part of the draft, most teams target a guy in the 11th round with excess pool money. It is still a round where teams expect to sign a player.

So that these pieces don’t run too long, I also plan to break them up into parts. I will cover the first selection taken by the Twins in a free article and then do two premium pieces on the rest of the draft. The Twins had a plethora of picks. They had three second round picks this year, thanks to the competitive balance lottery and the failure to sign Kyle Cody a year ago.

Alex Kirilloff played in the rookie league this year, which was a little unusual. Often, high school players spend most of the year with the Twins Gulf Coast League. This means that Kirilloff was facing pitchers up to four years older than him. He showed some power this year which, to me, is his best future tool. The only negative I found was that he had a high strikeout rate and an imbalance in his walks to strikeouts. He struck out about 14% of the time, with a near three to one strikeout to walk ratio. This though is me nitpicking, and could easily be explained away by his youth relative to the level. I think the Twins had to be happy with this performance, as he was able to do more than just hold his own. He found success while facing a mix of college and high school players.

His performance on this level will become all the more impressive, when we look into his fellow high school drafts picks the Twins made and their struggles on a lower level. When one looks at his performance there is certainly a case for Kirilloff to be considered the top prospect in the Twins system. I have Gordon over him but it’s very close.

I still think Kirilloff has the potential to be a guy with an above average hit tool and plus power, while playing either in corner outfield or at first base. I don’t think he is a future star, but he should be an above average regular down the road for the Twins. He has middle of the lineup potential, and I could see him making a few All-Star teams down the road. I will be curious where he starts next year and think he could start in low A.He seems  fast tracked compared to your typical high school player.

Minnesota Twins Alex Kirilloff

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