For the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft, the Minnesota Twins were coming off of a winning season that awarded them just the 15th overall pick. Not selecting in the top 10 for the first time in a while, Minnesota had a few options that would be presented to them. When the dust settled, they ended up going with the power hitting outfielder Alex Kirilloff. The Pennsylvania native has plenty of intrigue, and he's ready to unleash it for the Twins.
Kirilloff's prep career came to an end one win short of a Pennsylvania State Championship. Losing in the title game, you can bet his hunger to get back on the field and compete in the Twins organization remains high. He's likely going to head to Elizabethton to start his professional career, and his bat should be the thing that carries him early on.
Recently, I was able to catch up with the Twins top pick. We talked about his game, the Twins, and a few things in between. Here's what he had to say:
Off The Baggy: Tell me a little bit about your game. Most of the national outlets have described you as a solid all around athlete with a great hit tool and solid arm strength. Likely starting your professional career in the outfield, how would you describe your game as a whole?
Alex Kirilloff: I pride myself on being as well rounded of a player as I can be. I work very hard on all parts of my game. I feel that my biggest asset is my bat.
OTB: I believe you really burst onto the power scene with a recent Home Run Derby performance. Was that your first home run contest and what was the experience like?
AK: I was 11 years old in my first home run derby. I had just started using a leg lift with my swing, which helped me hit the ball further immediately. I beat a 12 year old who was the favorite to win the whole thing. So the only two home run derby's I have ever been in I won.
OTB: Being from Pennsylvania, I'd assume your a Pirates fan. I saw that longtime Pittsburgh fan favorite Neil Walker congratulated you on Twitter. Who is a big leaguer that you have modeled your game after?
AK: Neil Walker is first class and I now have even more respect for him than I already had before. I like watching Andrew McCutchen, he is a pretty well rounded player himself so I am inspired by him.
OTB: When looking at the Twins, what do you know about the organization, its players, and the state of Minnesota as a whole?
AK: I know Minnesota is cold...but it's okay, I am used to it coming from Pittsburgh! With three world series titles, Hall of fame players throughout the decades, and great traditions built, I am excited to be a part of the culture, history, and richness of the organization.
OTB: Tell me about your draft day experience. I believe you got to watch it unfold with teammates and friends as you were still wrapping up your season. What was the call like, and did you have any indications it was going to come from the Twins?
AK: It was a great experience being able to share it with my teammates, coaches, family, girlfriend, and friends. The call was a dream come true.
OTB: There's been some talk already that Minnesota may have you skip the Gulf Coast League and head straight to Elizabethton for your professional debut. What are your goals in your first professional season?
AK: My goals are to train, develop, learn, adapt, and play to the best of my ability while embracing the lifestyle of professional baseball. Let the rest take care of itself.
OTB: Let's end it with this, when Twins fans look ate Alex Kirilloff the baseball player, what do you hope they notice most?
AK: I hope they notice the baseball player and person that they want representing their fanbase, city, and baseball team.
With a great head on his shoulders, it seems Kirilloff already is going to start off on a great foot for the Twins. He is headed to Minnesota this week and then will begin his professional career in the organization. He's going to be fun to watch, and should be another high ceiling prospect Minnesota can add to the farm system. Recently, he was included in the Off The Baggy Top 15 update.