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We continue our look at the 2020 Blue Jays by examining one of the Jays’ top prospects who made his major league debut in 2020: Alejandro Kirk.
Ok, admit it. You folks have been waiting for this one. Alejandro Kirk is a 22-year-old Mexican catcher with whom the fans have fallen in love. As excited for his physical appearance as they are for his bat, fans have been clamouring for Kirk’s debut with the Blue Jays since seeing him in action in the spring.
Kirk was signed as an international free agent out of Mexico on September 24, 2016 and only played in one game in 2017 in the GCL. He really made an impression in 2018 in Bluefield as a 19 year old, hitting .354/.443/.558 and showing off the surprising power in his 5-foot-8 inch, 265-pound frame by hitting 10 doubles and 10 home runs in 58 games.
He moved up to A ball in 2019, hitting a combined .290/.403/.465 between Lansing and Dunedin (with 71 games in Lansing), hitting 31 doubles and seven home runs in 92 overall games.
Kirk got into eight games with the Blue Jays in spring training, getting just eight at bats but he racked up four hits including a home run while driving in a pair and walking four times without striking out. Kirk’s hustle on the basepaths endeared him to the fans while his bat-to-ball skills and strike-zone control impress the scouts and the management. He’s also surprisingly agile behind the plate for a young man of his size.
Without a ton of catchers in the organization, Kirk was assigned to the Alternate Training Site (despite not having played above A ball) and excelled there by all reports. He impressed the brass enough to earn a call up in September, making his debut on September 12 and he went 1/3 with a walk and run in his debut.
On September 21, Kirk exploded against the New York Yankees, going 4/4 with a double (that was just inches away from clearing the wall) and an opposite field home run.
While it was a small sample size, Kirk blew people away with a .375/.400/.583 slash line, hitting a pair of doubles and a home run in 25 at bats at the major league level. We have some data that says that his average exit velocity was 95 mph in 2020 (a fairly healthy figure) although his launch angle is fairly low at 5.9 degrees. Still, this is just a sample of 20 batted balls and just 85 pitches seen at the major league level.
Kirk comes into 2021 as the Blue Jays’ #2 catcher and their #5 prospect according to Baseball America. While he’s still expected to play in the minor leagues in 2021, I think he’ll see at least some time in the big leagues.
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