Young sluggers flex to lead top prospects

March 12th, 2021

Look out, NASA. Prospects were launching small spheres from Florida into orbit at high speeds on Thursday.

The Twins' Alex Kirilloff rocketed a first-pitch offering from Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez to deep center in the second inning of Minnesota's 5-4 loss to Boston. Kirilloff's shot had an exit velocity of 106.3 mph and traveled 420 feet, demonstrating that the 23-year-old outfielder/first baseman is capable of flashing impressive power even in left-on-left matchups.

The dinger was the first this spring for the No. 26 prospect, who's 3-for-16 with a walk over seven Grapefruit League games. Kirilloff has 36 homers to go with a .317/.365/.498 slash line of 279 Minor League games since 2016.

Meanwhile, up the Gulf Coast, Alejandro Kirk clubbed a moonshot for Toronto, and Monte Harrison generated some serious loft on the other side of the peninsula.

Kirk clubbed a 94-mph heater from Michael Fulmer 330 feet to right-center field in the Blue Jays' 10-6 win over the Tigers. The 22-year-old catcher homered once while posting a .400 OBP over nine games for Toronto last year.

Harrison's homer had an exit velocity of 108.7 mph. The 25-year-old outfielder knocked a 2-0 changeup from Luis Avilán 409 feet to left-center in the fourth inning of Miami's 1-1 tie with Washington. It was Harrison’s first hit of the spring in eight Grapefruit League games. He clubbed his first big league home run last season, when appeared in 32 games for the Marlins.

More top prospect performers from Thursday:

Bobby Witt Jr., SS, KC (MLB. No. 7)
Witt recorded a hit in his fifth straight game, shaking off a game-opening strikeout to start the third with a single. He scored on a one-out homer by Salvador Perez. The 20-year-old shortstop was charged with a fielding error for the first time this spring, during which he's 8-for-24 (.333) with two homers over 10 games. Gameday »

Tarik Skubal, LHP, DET (MLB No. 24)
Skubal worked around a Spencer Torkelson throwing error for a scoreless fifth inning. The southpaw finished with three scoreless innings of relief on one hit with no walks and four punchouts. The Tigers prospect now has six strikeouts through five scoreless frames on a pair of hits this spring. Gameday »

Nolan Jones, 3B, CLE (MLB No. 36)
Jones reached base three times for Cleveland on Thursday. The top Indians prospect worked a four-pitch walk in the second, knocked a base hit into center in the fourth and led off the seventh with another four-pitch walk. Jones is batting .375 this spring in eight Grapefruit League games. Gameday »

Garrett Mitchell, OF, MIL (MLB No. 65)
The 2020 first-rounder continued to prove he can hang in big league camp, stealing a base and scoring after getting aboard on Witt's error and later knocking a double. The two-bagger -- his first extra-base hit of Cactus League play -- made him 5-for-11 (.455) over nine spring games. Gameday »

Ryan Mountcastle, 1B, BAL (MLB No. 77)
Mountcastle roped a two-run double down the left-field line at 105.7 mph in the third inning. He went on to score on a Pat Valaika base hit two batters later. The fifth-ranked Orioles prospect has two hits – both for extra bases – and five RBIs this spring. Gameday »

Jordan Balazovic, RHP, MIN (MLB No. 97)
Balazovic made his spring debut on Thursday and tossed a perfect 1-2-3 eighth inning – including getting J.D. Martinez to ground out weakly to third. Balazovic’s fastball flashed 93.6 mph as he continues to try to work back up and add velocity this offseason. The 22-year-old only needed 10 pitches to get through the frame. Gameday »

Will Wilson, SS/2B, SF
Wilson drove in three with a two-out double to put San Francisco on the board in the second inning. It was his second hit of the Cactus League, and he also scored his first run. The 2019 first-rounder put up a .275/.328/.439 slash line in his debut summer in the Rookie-level Pioneer League. Gameday »

Roansy Contreras, RHP, PIT
Contreras made his spring debut with Pittsburgh and was all smiles. He flashed 98 mph with his fastball and displayed good feel for his curveball as well. The hard-throwing righty earned the victory after working around a walk to whiff two in a scoreless seventh. Gameday »

Luis Barrera, OF, OAK
Barrera drove in a pair of runs with a couple of base hits. He found a hole on the left side in the fifth inning, then went the other way in the seventh. The 25-year-old outfielder hit .321/.357/.513 across 54 Texas League games in 2019. Gameday »

Matt Cronin, LHP, WAS
The 2019 fourth-rounder tossed a perfect ninth inning on Thursday. Cronin recorded the first two outs on three pitches before winning a six-pitch battle with José Devers, who lined out to left, to end the game. The southpaw posted a 0.82 ERA over 17 SAL appearances in 2019. Gameday »

Gilberto Celestino, OF, MIN
Celestino entered the game as a defensive replacement in center in the seventh, then drove in a run with an RBI double in his only at-bat in the eighth. Celestino was removed for a pinch runner at second. The 22-year-old is hitting .300 with a pair of doubles in nine appearances this spring. Gameday »

Oswald Peraza, SS, NYY
The 20-year-old stroked a pretty single into left in the eighth to drive in a run for New York. It was Peraza’s first knock of the spring in six Grapefruit League appearances. The Yankees prospect hit .273 across 46 SAL games in 2019. Gameday »

Bobby Bradley, 1B, CLE
The Indians prospect stayed hot with a pair of doubles on Thursday. The first was roped down the line in right in the second and the other was a laser into center that drove in a run. It's the second straight multi-hit effort for Bradley, who has six extra-base hits in six Grapefruit League games. Gameday »

JoJo Romero, LHP, PHI
The southpaw posted a scoreless frame of relief, working around a hit and fanning one. Romero has not allowed a run over two appearances this spring, yielding a pair of hits and punching out two. The Phillies prospect appeared in 10 big league games last season and whiffed 10 over 10 2/3 innings. Gameday »

Wil Crowe, RHP, PIT
The righty made his longest appearance of the spring, going three innings while allowing a hit and whiffing three. The Pirates prospect’s only blemish was a single to the first batter he faced in the fourth, but an inning-ending double play allowed Crowe to face the minimum over his three frames. Crowe needed just 33 pitches to get through his outing, tossing 22 for strikes. Gameday »