Kirilloff leads Thursday's top prospects

March 6th, 2020

The beat goes on for Alex Kirilloff, who has gotten off to a hot start at the plate this spring.

The Twins’ No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline (No. 32 overall) was 2-for-2 with a solo homer in the ninth inning of Minnesota’s 3-3 tie with the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium on Thursday, making him 6-for-10 with a pair of homers so far in Grapefruit League play.

Kirilloff, the 15th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, hit .283/.343/.413 with nine homers and seven steals in 94 games for Double-A Pensacola last year, missing significant time due to a right wrist injury.

But he’s healthy now, and so far, he’s raking. Could Kirilloff make his Major League debut in 2020? If he keeps doing what he’s doing, there’s a decent chance we’ll see him at PNC Park later this year.

Here's how other top prospects performed on Thursday:

Kevin Cron, 1B, D-backs

Cron broke out of an 0-for-17 slump by going 3-for-3 with a home run in Arizona’s 11-9 victory over the Rangers at Surprise Stadium. He’s behind Christian Walker on the Major League depth chart after Walker hit 29 homers with an .825 OPS in 2019, the club’s first season after dealing Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals. Still, Cron showed big pop in his first taste of the Majors last year, homering six times in 71 at-bats.

Casey Mize, RHP, and Jake Rogers, C, Tigers

Mize, the first overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft and No. 7 overall prospect in baseball, had a better outing this time around after giving up two runs over two innings in his first two appearances of the spring. He started Detroit’s 15-11 victory over the Yankees and tossed two scoreless frames, walking one and striking out two. After thriving over 21 starts between Class A Advanced Lakeland and Double-A Erie last year, it’s possible he could be pitching in the big leagues in 2020.

While Miguel Cabrera got the headlines Thursday, and rightfully so after he launched two homers off Yankees right-hander Gerrit Cole, Rogers went 2-for-3 with a solo homer in the sixth inning, upping his spring average to .600. The Tigers’ No. 10 prospect hit .125 in 112 at-bats last season, but with a strong showing could force his way north when camp breaks.

Sam Hilliard, OF, Rockies

Hilliard has gotten off to a slow start in Cactus League play, but his swing appears to be coming together somewhat -- he launched his second spring homer in Colorado’s 7-6 loss to the White Sox at Camelback Ranch and is now 5-for-27 (.185). The Rockies are hoping Hilliard will force his way into the everyday lineup this season by continuing to demonstrate his power after belting seven homers in 77 at-bats in his first taste of the Majors last season.

Anderson Tejeda, SS, and Jonathan Hernandez, RHP, Rangers

Texas’ No. 8 prospect remains red-hot to open Spring Training, going 1-for-2 with an RBI single during the Rangers’ 5-0 split-squad victory over the Cubs at Sloan Park, pushing his Cactus League average up to .462. After missing most of last season due to a shoulder injury, he hopes to build on his 19-homer, 11-steal season at Class A Advanced Down East.

In the same contest, Hernandez started and tossed three scoreless innings, yielding two hits while walking one and fanning four to lower his spring ERA to 3.86. He looks to take the next step after making his big league debut last year and posting a 4.32 ERA over nine appearances (two starts). A big part of that will be a matter of harnessing his control -- he walked 3.6 batters per nine innings over 96 frames for Double-A Frisco in 2019.

Bryan Abreu, RHP, Astros

Abreu preserved his pristine 0.00 ERA with two innings of relief in Houston’s 5-0 victory over Boston at JetBlue Park. Over 6 2/3 innings, Houston’s No. 5 prospect fanned 12 and walked two. He was impressive over a small sample of Major League games after debuting last season, posting a 1.04 ERA and 13 strikeouts over seven appearances.

Scott Moss, LHP, Indians

Cleveland’s No. 18 prospect turned in two scoreless innings out of the bullpen in the Tribe’s 7-1 victory over the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium. He’s struck out eight but also walked five over 5 2/3 innings so far in Cactus League play. He made 26 starts between Double-A Akron, Double-A Columbus and Triple-A Charlotte in 2019, finishing with a 2.96 ERA.