We learned on Wednesday that Minnesota Twins 2016 first round pick Alex Kirilloff will miss the 2017 season with Tommy John surgery.
Minnesota Twins Twitter blew up on Monday as it was revealed that 2016 first round selection Alex Kirilloff will miss the 2017 season after requiring Tommy John surgery on his elbow.
Alex Kirilloff was ranked as the #2 prospect in the Twins organization in Call to the Pen’s top 10 Twins prospects in December. He’s been ranked by most industry lists as the #1-#4 prospect in the Twins system this offseason, and he’s found his way onto a number of offseason top-100 lists, including MLB Pipeline at #98 and Keith Law’s (requires ESPN Insider) at #97.
Kirilloff may not have taken a usual path to a top draft pick as a home-schooled prep player who played for a local high school team outside of Pittsburgh, but did not take classes from the school.
He did, however, follow the usual path of succeeding strongly on the showcase circuit, hitting very well and even winning the home run derby at the Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego along with his fellow draftees.
Kirilloff’s biggest question was more on where he would play in the field over whether he could hit, as teams loved his easy left-handed power, but some projected him as a first baseman rather than in the outfield.
After the Minnesota Twins selected him 15th overall, Kirilloff was aggressively placed in advanced rookie ball with Elizabethton in the Appalachian League.
However, jumping to a level of competition with 2016 college picks and 2015 high school draftees already with a year under their belt didn’t phase Kirilloff as he hit .306/.341/.454 with seven home runs. He also showed a very solid ability to handle the field, playing 12 games in center field and 39 in right, tallying seven assists from the outfield in a total of 49 games played (some games he shifted from right to center, or vice versa), which is an impressive number.
In a game in August, he left the game after injuring his arm, and he did not return. After attempting to rehab during the winter, Wednesday’s news was a sad conclusion to his first professional season.
What does this mean for his future?
Twins former first round pick Alex Kirilloff is having Tommy John surgery, GM Thad Levine says. He’ll miss the year, roughly 9-month rehab.
Kirilloff will be back on playing fields before the end of the season, but likely in extended spring and then fall instructs, not likely to play in an organized league in 2017.
The Twins have experienced a number of position players going through TJS, including their big league manager and one of the young up-and-coming stars on their team in Paul Molitor and Miguel Sano, so they have guys who can certainly be mentors to Kirlloff through the rehab process.
Kirilloff’s father, David, is a noted hitting instructor and will likely be working with his son along the rehab process as well, so it’s likely the bat will be ready to go when he’s healthy.
However, that question about his defense could end up coming back to light now, as with this injury to his elbow Kirilloff may now be forced to first base only defensively, which would be a sad turn after playing so well in the outfield in his pro debut.