The Toronto Blue Jays have had some big name prospects make their way through the ranks of the system in recent years. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette were two of the most anticipated prospects entering the 2019 season and they delivered.
Now the farm system is headlined by 6 foot 6, 245lb right handed pitcher Nate Pearson. Pearson profiles as a major league ace with his size and ability to reach 103MPH with his fastball.
But someone who has flown under the radar is Alejandro Kirk.
Kirk is a 21-year-old catcher who signed out of Mexico in 2016. Currently ranked as the 12th best prospect in the Blue Jays farm system, Kirk has torn apart lower level pitching since his professional debut in 2017.
Kirk has a career slash line of .315/.418/.918 across three minor league levels. What’s most impressive about his play so far is his plate vision. He has never had a season where he has struck out more than walked. Through 619 plate appearances he has struck out 60 times and walked 89.
Kirk, being 5 foot 9, 220lb isn’t very athletic and doesn’t run well but is a good presence behind the plate. Kirk is a great blocker and used his strong arm to throw out 43 per cent of baserunners in 2018.
Entering 2019 the Blue Jays aren’t in a dire need for a catcher. They have two young pieces in Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire who have both shown flashes of the qualities needed to be a starting catcher in the major leagues. Jansen had a defensively strong 2019 but struggled at the plate and McGuire had a strong second half after being called up in July.
While McGuire’s slash line of .299/.346/.872 in 2019 has people excited, Jansen has historically been a better hitter in the minor leagues. Jansen will need to improve at the plate this year if he wants to remain the starting catcher in Toronto for the foreseeable future.
I expect Kirk to make the jump to AA New Hampshire in 2020, and if his bat travels there with him he will quickly rise the Blue Jays farm system rankings.
He is flying under the radar for now, but it might not be long before he’s on the map as a top catching prospect in baseball.