Alejandro Kirk - Improvement
As referenced with Guerrero, Alejandro Kirk is another player with a lot to prove next year in Toronto. Unfortunately not all of it is of his own doing, given the Blue Jays' decision to trade away their top catching prospect Gabriel Moreno.
Moreno went on to have a breakout season in Arizona, as he helped the Diamondbacks go all the way to the World Series. This led to critics subsequently proclaiming the Blue Jays had gotten rid of the wrong catcher, albeit with that wonderful benefit of hindsight. (And yes, we are being a bit facetious.)
Kirk had actually helped persuade the Blue Jays to move Moreno, due to his own breakout season a year earlier. His excellent 2022 campaign saw him named an All-Star for the first time, while also earning his inaugural Silver Slugger Award.
Unfortunately for the 25-year-old he suffered a regression this past season, specifically on offence. It's not that he was outright horrific at the plate, but he did see a significant dip in his productivity. (He did continue to provide stellar catching behind the plate.)
In particular, Kirk had single-season worsts of a .358 slugging percentage, .692 OPS and 93 OPS+. In addition, he saw his home run, RBI and walk numbers drop from 14, 63 and 63 respectively, to 8, 43 and 42, while his .250 batting average was nothing to write home about.
With all this said (written), what can we expect from a player facing so much pressure to prove himself in 2024? Well, we can report that FanGraphs project the right-handed bat will trend in the right direction.
However, it must be stressed that this predicted improvement does come with a provisio. More specifically, that Kirk's production is based on playing in 85 games, as opposed to 139 and 123 in 2022 and 2023 respectively.
This is why FanGraphs have the Mexico native hitting 10 homers and 41 RBI, while manufacturing 36 walks. However, his .275/.359/.435 slash line and .794 OPS make for positive reading and contribute towards the hope that he will indeed be better in 2024.