The Jays Journal staff returns with our yearly Top 30 prospect rankings. The #12 spot goes to a catcher from Mexico, Alejandro Kirk.
Name: Alejandro Kirk. Position: Catcher
Height: 5’9″ Weight: 220 lbs
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Acquired: Signed as an international FA in 2016 from Mexico
2019 level: A and A+ ETA: 2021
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Alejandro Kirk was signed as an International Free agent in September 2016 when he was just 17 years of age, and hails from Tijuana Mexico. Kirk missed all of the 2017 season due to an injury to his hand which he had suffered in a car accident. In 2018, Kirk showed up in a big way with his first season of professional minor league baseball.
Kirk was assigned to the Blue Jays rookie level ball club in the Appalachian league. He would play in 58 games and would produce a .354 BA, and a .443. OBP. Next, Kirk’s 2019 season would begin with the Lansing Lugnuts at A level.
Through 21 games Kirk would prove that his 2018 season was no fluke and after hitting .299 BA, .427 OBP and maintaining a higher walk than strikeout totals. He would be advanced to play older competition in The Florida State league with the Dunedin Blue Jays at the High-A level and his successes would continue in Florida. For all of Kirk’s steady work with the bat and behind the plate, the now 21-year-old was one of the Jays minor league players of the year.
There is no doubt that Kirk’s bat is what makes him such an intriguing prospect. Through two minor league seasons advancing from Rookie ball through to A+, Kirk has been able to maintain good contact skills and has always had higher walk than strikeout numbers. In 619 plate appearances Kirk has a 14% walk rate compared to a 10% strikeout rate. These are numbers that he may not be able to replicate as he starts to move into the higher levels of the minor leagues. These abilities has allowed Kirk to have high OBP numbers near or over .400.
Perhaps Kirk’s biggest hurdle will be his ability to maintain an athletic shape. With Kirk’s ability to get into playing shape he should be able to stick at the catcher position. Kirk has shown good hands behind the plate and shows surprising quickness both being able to block, and with side to side movement. Kirk throws well as evidenced from his ability to throw out 43% of base steal attempts in 2018 and 38% in 2019. His bat at the catcher position plays well, but he could lose value if he is forced to move to first base.
Alejandro Kirk has been given an overall 50 by scouting at MLB.com. This is based on the 20-80 scouting ranks. Kirk’s value comes from both his Bat and his Arm as he is given a 55 for each category, which is above average. They give him a score of 45 for Power and for Fielding, so he’ll look to improve the scouting reports there in 2020.
As mentioned above, Kirk doesn’t possess your prototypical athletic build. As such he will never likely be much of a base stealing threat or provide high value on the base paths. The 2020 season will likely see Kirk challenged at the AA level in New Hampshire. If he continues to produce with the bat and makes improvements with his defence, then he could likely be seen as a possible piece at the catcher position with the Jays in the not so far off future.
It is with this prospect depth at the catcher position that the Blue Jays have created that makes a player like Alejandro Kirk a good piece for the Jays future either as a player or a trade chip to help fill other holes.