Kirilloff is starting in right field and batting sixth Wednesday in Game 2 against the Astros. The Twins aren't messing around, turning to their No. 2 overall prospect to make his MLB debut during the first round of the playoffs. Including the Southern League playoffs, Kirilloff hit .309/.352/.480 with 11 home runs and a 15.9 K% over his final 60 games in 2019 and reportedly impressed in spring training and this summer at the alternate training site. He bats left-handed, which was likely a key consideration in him getting the start against righty Jose Urquidy.
The Twins selected Kirilloff's contract Tuesday ahead of Game 1 of the team's wild-card series with the Astros. Minnesota designated pitcher Sean Poppen for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster and the active roster for Kirilloff, one of the organization's top prospects. He'll be on the bench for Game 1, but Kirilloff could get the chance to make his first MLB start at some point during the postseason if any members of the Twins' regular outfield (Max Kepler, Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario) are forced to miss time.
The Twins are expected to add Kirilloff to their postseason roster Tuesday ahead of Game 1 of the team's wild-card series with the Astros, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com reports. With the statuses of third baseman Josh Donaldson (calf) and outfielder Byron Buxton (concussion) uncertain for the three-game series, the Twins will promote one of their top hitting prospects to help fill the void. If Donaldson can't start Tuesday, Marwin Gonzalez would likely fill in for him at the hot corner, leaving a spot open for Kirilloff in the outfield in the event Buxton is also sidelined. Due to the cancellation of the 2020 minor-league season, Kirilloff's only competitive at-bats have come in simulated games at the Twins' alternate training site, but the 22-year-old is regarded as an advanced hitter from the left side. He spent the 2019 campaign at Double-A Pensacola, slashing .283/.343/.413 while striking out at a respectable 18.5 percent rate.
Kirilloff was included in Minnesota's 60-man player pool ahead of summer camp before the 2020 season begins, MLB.com reports. Kirilloff hit .429 with two home runs and a 3:1 K:BB in 22 plate appearances in big-league spring training as the top prospect showed he can make an impact as soon as 2020. He's likely to begin the season at Minnesota's alternate training site, but could be called up to the major league roster if there's an injury at first base or DH.
Kirilloff hit .429 with two home runs and a 3:1 K:BB in 22 plate appearances in big-league camp. Manager Rocco Baldelli noted that Kirilloff looks 100 percent healthy and has really impressed in his at-bats, per Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com. A wrist injury robbed Kirilloff of part of the 2019 season and impacted his performance when he did report to Double-A Pensacola. However, he finished strong and picked up where he left off in spring training. The Twins don't have an immediate need at first base, left field or right field, but Kirilloff does not appear to need much more seasoning in the minors before he is ready to help the big-league club.
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