Alex Kirilloff Demoted; Minnesota Twins Call Up Another 1st Round Pick

Minnesota Twins, Austin Martin, Alex Kirilloff
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins are still looking to find some level of consistency and Alex Kirilloff is not going to be a part of that current picture, after the 2016 No. 15 overall pick was optioned to St. Paul following Wednesday’s win against the Colorado Rockies.

Kirilloff got off to a strong start this season, but that quickly went in the tank and Alex hasn’t been the same hitter since the start of May. At some point, with an option remaining, he was going to force the Twins’ hand.

Kirilloff’s vacancy on the active roster opens a 26-man roster spot that will reportedly be filled by 2020 No. 5 overall pick, Austin Martin.

Martin is a contact hitter that doesn’t strike out, and his ability to get on base is impressive. While he does own an .818 OPS since he last option to Triple-A, a significant portion of the positive in that was generated immediately.

Alex Kirilloff sent down, Austin Martin called up by Minnesota Twins

Over the course of his last eight games entering Wednesday, Martin had gone just 5-for-26 with a .545 OPS. His 4/7 K/BB is impressive, but he’s generated zero extra-base hits. In replacing Kirilloff with Martin, the Twins get a versatile outfielder that brings a level of speed back to their active roster.

He’s not going to factor in at first base, which means Carlos Santana and Jose Miranda are the lone options there. Martin isn’t a lights out defender in the outfield, either, but he can play a decent left and center field, which is where Baldelli should be expected to deploy him.

Related: Looks Like Edouard Julien is Odd Man Out for Twins with Royce Lewis Returning

It’s unfortunate that wrist injuries have sapped a level of power that Kirilloff should have been expected to show. As a guy who could certainly be a solid average hitter, he has struggled to show that at a consistent level, as well.

Headed back to Triple-A for a reset, Alex Kirilloff falls behind Trevor Larnach in the Minnesota Twins’ young corner outfielder / designated hitter / 1st baseman pecking order. It’s likely he even sits behind Matt Wallner, at this point.

Alex Kirilloff
Sep 22, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins first baseman Alex Kirilloff (19) hits a sacrifice fly during the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Wallner, who made the Twins Opening Day roster, has come on strong of late, grabbing at least one hit in nine of his last ten games at St. Paul. Thus, it is somewhat surprising he wasn’t the choice for Kirilloff in a swap, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see him earn a trip back up ahead of Kirilloff.

If DaShawn Keirsey Jr. can get healthy as well, despite not being on the 40-man roster, he could factor into the promotion conversation also. Kirilloff has been expected to be so much more than what we have seen thus far. Health has impacted that for sure, but it’s definitely getting late early with regards as to what to make of his career.

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