The list of high schoolers from Western Pennsylvania who have been impactful big leaguers is relatively small. The list starts with Ken Griffey Sr., of course, and includes more recent examples like Neil Walker and Devin Mesoraco. Kirilloff, taken in the middle of the first round of the 2016 Draft as one of the best pure high school hitters in that class, has the chance to be the next. His path has been slowed by injuries -- Tommy John surgery cost him all of 2017 and wrist issues hampered him for much of 2019 after a huge 2018 campaign.
Even with the injury obstacles, Kirilloff is still considered one of the best hitters in the Minor Leagues, one who should continue to hit for both a high average and plenty of power, especially when healthy. He makes consistent hard contact and can drive the ball to all fields, with the left-handed hitter nearly as likely to hit the ball out the other way as he is to his pull side. He's willing to work counts and doesn't swing and miss a lot.
Kirilloff has the skills to be an average corner outfielder, with enough range and a solid arm to fit nicely in right field. He played a good amount of first base in 2019, something that will continue as the Twins want to increase his versatility, and he could be a better than average defender there. More than anything, playing multiple spots will give options to get that bat into the big league lineup, something that could happen in the near future.
Scouting grades: Hit: 65 | Power: 55 | Run: 50 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 60
Kirilloff was one of the better pure hitters in the 2016 Draft class, taken by the Twins in the middle of the first round out of Plum High School outside of Pittsburgh. After a strong summer debut in the Rookie-level Appalachian League, however, the outfielder needed Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2017. There was uncertainty about how he would bounce back after the injury and long layoff, but Kirilloff responded by earning a promotion, going to the Futures Game and leading the Minors in total bases while finishing third in average and seventh in RBIs.
If it weren't for Blue Jays phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr., a strong argument can be made that Kirilloff is the best hitter in the Minor Leagues. He makes consistent, hard contact and can drive the ball to all fields. He has over-the-fence power the other way and also showed he can turn on pitches when needed, while making a seamless transition up to the pitching-friendly Florida State League. He's a sound and consistent right fielder, one who makes all the plays and can stay there long-term with an average arm. He might mix in some first base, where some think he could be a plus defender, to add some positional flexibility.
That's more about making sure there's a spot for him when his bat is deemed ready, which might not be too far off in the future. He's already gained a lot of strength; the Twins are excited to see what he can do now that he's completely off of his rehab protocol and doesn't have to rediscover his timing after a year off.
Scouting grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 60
After the Twins took Kirilloff from the Pittsburgh area high school ranks in the middle of the first round of the 2015 Draft, he went out and won Appalachian League Player of the Year honors. A sore left elbow shut him down late that summer and led to Tommy John surgery the next spring, ending his first full season before it began.
Healthy again, Kirilloff can get back to showing off his outstanding hit tool from the left side of the plate. He has an innate ability to barrel up the baseball consistently and can drive it to all fields. There should be plenty of over-the-fence power as he matures, though he is more hit over power at present. Athletic for his size, Kirilloff played center field and pitched in high school, and he saw some time in center during his pro debut. That said, Kirilloff profiles best in right field. If his elbow doesn't come all the way back, he has shown he can play a solid first base defensively.
The Twins will finally get to see what Kirilloff can do over the course of a full season. Expectations might be muted a bit initially as he will have some rust to shake off, but the bat has the chance to be special.
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
The Pittsburgh high school baseball scene isn't generally thought of as a hotbed for talent, though good players do emanate from Southwest Pennsylvania. Kirilloff brought scouts to the Burgh all spring in 2016, landing in the middle of the first round to the Twins, the first high schooler from the area to go that high since Neil Walker was taken by the Pirates back in 2003. Kirilloff hit over .300 during his pro debut and was named the Appalachian League Player of the Year. His first full season was over before it started, however, when it was announced in early March that he needed Tommy John surgery.
Once he returns, Kirilloff has the chance to hit for both average and power from the left side of the plate. He has a knack for barreling the ball consistently, driving the ball to all fields, with more over-the-fence pop to come as he matures. A center fielder and a pitcher in high school, Kirilloff is athletic for his size. While he did see some time in center during his pro debut, he will most likely move to right field, where his offensive profile should profile well. He has played first base as well and could move there if needed in the future.
The elbow injury first occurred at the end of his Appy League season and the organization thought it just would require rest and rehab, but the symptoms returned when he tried to throw this spring. The Twins will have to wait to see what he can do over the course of a full season.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 55 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
A strong summer showcase circuit showing put Kirilloff, a product of the Southwest Pennsylvania high school ranks, firmly on the map for the 2016 Draft. He kept on hitting during his senior season in the Pittsburgh area, cementing his place as one of the best high school bats in the class. The Twins took him No. 15 overall and gave him a full pick value bonus of $2,817,100, the highest a Pittsburgh prepster has gone since Neil Walker went in the first round in 2003.
While there is a little length to his swing, he's shown the ability to barrel the ball consistently and has considerable raw power. He's more athletic than one would think given his size and played center field for his high school team. While he played some center during his pro debut, he'll likely be a corner outfielder in the future. He moves more than well enough to stay there. He has a strong arm, one that fired 87-90 mph fastballs from the mound.
Kirilloff should fit the offensive profile for an everyday corner outfielder, one who could provide power and run production for a big league lineup in the future.