He emerged seemingly out of nowhere in 2018, barrelling up balls and firmly placing himself on the prospect radar.
In 2019, Alejandro Kirk made the scouting community aware of his defensive skills, and as a result makes his first appearance on our Blue Jays Top 10 list.
Listed at 5’9″/220 but likely heavier than that, Kirk nonetheless impressed the Blue Jays front office by coming into training camp having dropped about 25 lbs over the off season. A viewing of Kirk in person in late April, and some online viewing at the end of July looked like he had put a few of those pounds back on.
A free agent signing from Mexico in 2016, Kirk injured his hand in an off-season car accident, and then re-injured it in his first GCL game, which cost Kirk all but 3 PAs in 2017. He broke out the following year in the Appy League, slashing .354/.443/.558, and was named the short season loop’s 12th top prospect by Baseball America. Kirk split catching duties with Hagen Danner at Bluefield, but took over the top job when promoted to Lansing to start 2019. After posting a .947 OPS in 21 Midwest League games, he was moved to Dunedin, where he took the bulk of the reps.
Kirk is something of a polarizing prospect for scouts: many love the bat, but not the body. At the plate, Kirk is a polished hitter, showing good plate discipline, a quick bat, and good coverage of the strike zone. Kirk uses all of the field, but his power is mostly to his pull side. Scouts expect that because of his ability to work the count, he could become at least an average big league hitter.
On the defensive side, Kirk made huge strides this year. While not necessarily a gifted athlete, Kirk is a good blocker of pitches in the dirt, and shows a strong, accurate arm. He works well with his Pitchers, and while his English has maybe not advanced to the point where he was comfortable doing an interview with us this summer, he is more than able to communicate with his Pitching staff.
Working on his strength and conditioning will be the biggest challenge for Kirk as he continues to move up the ladder in the Blue Jays system. On the bases, he’s a below average runner. Behind the plate, he can have trouble getting into a low squat, and needs to work on his ability to receive, present, and frame pitches.
Despite the bad body concerns at the moment, Kirk more than held his own against tough competition at the tender age of 20. The Blue Jays like his polish, baseball IQ, and how hard he has been working to reshape his body. His bat slowed a bit over the course of July and August, but given the oppressive Florida weather, the bigger ballparks, and the fact that he was completing his first full season, Kirk showed potential as a big league prospect. Perhaps not a first division player, but a solid regular or a role player down the road.