Name: Alex Kirilloff
Born: New Kensington, Pennsylvania
Age: 18 (11/9/1997)
Height/Weight: 6'2"/200 lbs
School: Plum High School (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
The bane of the existence of so many high school students across the United States is tests. Pop quizzes, midterms, finals, standardized tests. In addition to all of those, Alex Kirilloff has been subject to all kinds of psychological tests, eye tests, personality tests, and other exams. Unlike most teenagers his age, Kirilloff is being considered by numerous MLB teams to be drafted.
The youngster from New Kensington will be drafted by an MLB team, and is being projected by multiple sources to be selected in the first round of the draft. If so, he will be one of four other players from the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League to be drafted in the first round—the most recent being Neil Walker, who comes from Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, and attended Pine-Richland High School.
That is just one of many ways in which Kirilloff is not living the normal life of an American teenager. Though affiliated with Plum High School in the Pittsburgh area, the left-hander does not actually attend the school. Instead, he is home-schooled as part of the Pennsylvania Cyber School program, a public charter school that offers courses online.
Kirilloff has a good baseball foundation. His father, Dave Kirilloff, was a scout with the Pittsburgh Pirates and other professional outlets, a coach with numerous collegiate and amateur teams, and has owned and operated Baseball 19 University—a training program and facility in Tarentum, Pennsylvania, that has been in operation for almost 25 years and counts as its alumni numerous players that have gone on to play in the major or minor leagues. Dave seemed destined to perhaps have a professional career of his own until a blood clot disorder ended his playing days.
According to the older Kirilloff, Alex had a passion for baseball at an extremely young age and was already hitting off a tee at 11 months old. The younger Kirilloff has credited his father and the facility for much of his skill and talent. "It's been a huge advantage for me, especially geographically where we live. Being able to access that, being able to wake up any given day and be able to go there and hit when I want to, when I feel like I need to, even with your routine in the off-season, is huge," Kirilloff said. "Having my dad, and having the access to him that I have, to be able to have him to coach me and give me the advice that I need with my hitting has been a blessing."
Kirilloff credits his father for much of his skill and talent, in addition to his overall demeanor and personality. He is an excellent student, possessing a 3.7 GPA, and is deeply religious. His cool demeanor has diffused numerous situations in which conflicts could have arisen, such as his playing on the varsity team of a high school he does not attend, playing with older teammates with different values, and simply living with the stress of being a candidate to be drafted in the first round of the 2016 draft. Alex has a commitment to Liberty University, saying when he signed his letter of intent that it was "a long time coming."
What The Scouts Think
Kirilloff's father is a professional hitting coach who has tutored amateur and professional athletes and executives. As a result, the younger Kirilloff has developed an approach at the plate that is advanced for a high school hitter. The left-hander has excellent bat speed, and the loft in the plane of his swing is conducive to plus power. Despite the tutoring, however, Kiriloff still has areas of improvement. Scouts have observed that he bars, or straightens, his lead arm, which makes him susceptible to getting jammed on inside pitches. Allaying those concerns somewhat is the fact that, over the course of his high school and showcase circuit career, Kirilloff has consistently been able to barrel the ball and drive pitches to all fields.
Due to his upbringing in the Pittsburgh area, Kirilloff was never exposed to much high-level pitching and had difficulties while playing on the showcase circuit last summer. Specifically, he struggled timing pitchers and often chased bad pitches out of the strike zone. A testament to his baseball IQ, Kirilloff improved in both areas as he got more repetitions and emerged as a potent offensive force by the end of the summer.
Kirilloff not only participated in the 2015 Perfect Game All-American Classic Home Run Challenge, but won the entire competition. At Fowler Park, home of the University of San Diego, and PETCO Park, home of the San Diego Padres, the lefty slugged a total of 34 home runs and edged out fellow top prospect Blake Rutherford, 12 to 11, in the final round.
Defensively, Kirilloff is considered an excellent fielder at first base and a solid fielder in center field. Because many of his secondary skills play up in the outfield, his career will almost undoubtedly take him there. He possesses average-to-above average speed, and has a cannon of an arm that has been clocked as high as 90 mph while on the mound.
Off the field, Kiriloff is considered mature and to possess strong moral fiber. Despite the attention he has received in relation to the draft, the left-hander has kept his focus on his team and his teammates. Plum High School is the number one ranked team in the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League's Class AAAA and has a chance to make the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association finals.
Due to scheduling conflicts, Kirilloff would have to choose between attending the draft in Secaucus—where he is projected to be drafted somewhere in the first round—or doing his part to help the Mustangs win a championship. Kiriloff has already made mention that he plans on being on the field, saying, "We want to win WPIAL championship. That's first and foremost." Kirilloff continued, "We have to take things in order, but I'd love to be playing in the state quarterfinals. It's not like I'm not going to get drafted if I don't attend. It's really a no-brainer for me. Our team worked all season, all winter and I'm not going to leave a state playoff game for the draft. There wouldn't even be a discussion about it."