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The season that was: Alejandro Kirk

A look at Alejandro’s 2022 season

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Alejandro Kirk got into a few games in 2020, as a September call-up and then played 60 games in 2021. He had been the number 8 prospect on our 40-man prospect list in 2020. we had pretty high hopes for him, Matt compared him to Carlos Santana, which is a pretty nice comparison.

Coming into spring training before the 2022 season, we wondered if Kirk would make the team and/or how much playing time he would get. Add in questions on whether he would catch or if he would be more of a full-time DH.

We had a decent, young catching tandem with Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire. Add in that Gabriel Moreno was right behind him on the minor league ladder and was a better thought of prospect. Of course, none of us expected Zack Collins to eat into his playing time.

Some were worried about his weight, and how much stress that might put on his knees, with all the squatting a catcher does.

Standard Batting
23 139 541 470 59 134 19 0 14 63 0 0 63 58 .285 .372 .415 .786 126 11 4 4 2
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/31/2022.

Baseball Reference has him at a 3.9 WAR. FanGraphs at 3.8, giving him a value of $30.6 million to the team (not a bad payback, since he made $710,400 last year).

He had a .347 wOBA and a 129 wRC+.

Alejandro’s BABIP was .299 (up from .234 last year).

His walk rate was 11.6% (up from 10.1). Strikeout rate was 10.7% (down slightly from 11.6).

Kirk’s line-drive rate was down a bit from last year (19.2% from 20.0). Ground ball rate was up (50.0% from 41.4%). Fly balls down (30.8% from 38.6). Fewer of his fly balls left the park (10.9% from 14.3).

Soft contact was up (14.9% from 11.7%), and hard contact was up (37.5% from 32.4).

Like many of our hitters, Kirk was better vs. RHP (.288/.377/.419) than LHP (.276/.349/.398).

And he hit slightly better on the road (.313/.386/.420) than at home (.250/.354/.409).

He was much better in the first half (.315/.395/.487) than in the second half (.246/.340/.320) of the season.

Kirk by month:

  • April: .245/.339/.245 with 0 home runs, 8 walks, 6 strikeouts, in 19 games.
  • May: .347/.415/.569 with 3 home runs, 9 walks, 6 strikeouts, in 23 games.
  • June: .341/.451/.635 with 7 home runs, 13 walks, 11 strikeouts, in 25 games.
  • July: .291/.326/.395 with 2 home runs, 5 walks, 10 strikeouts, in 23 games.
  • August: .241/.354/.313 with 1 home run, 15 walks, 14 strikeouts, in 25 games.
  • September: .242/.337/.297 with 1 home run, 13 walks, 11 strikeouts, in 24 games.

If the whole season could have been like May and June we would have been so happy.

Alejandro hit .278/.508/.461 with RISP.


He played 76 as a catcher, and 51 as DH.

He had just 3 errors on the season, 2 throwing, and 1 fielding for a .996 FA (the league average for catchers was .993).

He threw out 26% of base stealers (the league average was 25%).

As much as was made about Kirk’s one-knee catching style, he only had 1 passed ball and 12 wild pitches while he was behind the plate. Even Buck seemed to be giving in to the idea that it was such a bad idea.

FanGraphs had him at a +7.6 in framing.

Baseball Savant has +9 in framing, making him the 4th best framer in the MLB. Considering he was 32nd in pitches received, that’s pretty amazing. The only AL catchers ahead of him are Jose Trevino ( + 17 in 2719 pitches) and Jonah Heim (+12 in 2923 pitches). Kirk had 1976 pitches.

As you likely know he was especially good on low pitches, but he was very good on the whole.

As a baserunner, Kirk was a -7.1 runs compared to average. Which makes him the 3rd worst baserunner in the league. Only Hunter Dozier and J.D. Martinez had poorer numbers. It did seem like he had an amazing number of infield hits.

Kirk hit:

At catcher: .305/.395/.431 (78 games).

At DH: .261/.341/.404 (51 games).

Where he hit in the order:

  • 3rd: 26 games.
  • 4th: 56 games.
  • 5th: 11 games.
  • 6th: 19 games.
  • 7th: 5 games.
  • 8th: 6 games.

The Jays were 43-31 in games he started at catcher.

His longest hitting streak was 9 games, longest on-base streak was 12 games. The longest he went without a home run was 27 games.

His favourite team to face? Kirk hit .600/.667/1.200 in 3 games against the Brewers.

Least favourite? He hit .067/.125/.067 in 6 games against the Astros.

Kirk is an easy player to like. I don’t know what it is, his body type, his personality? He is just very likable (though I guess Matthew Ross disagrees). I don’t know how you can be a long-time baseball fan and think that players have to be slim to be good.

We talk about how slow he is, but then I’m sure he could beat me or most of us here, in a footrace. He’s 23 (24 next week) and does run a fair bit in his job. He’s slow for baseball, but faster than me I’m sure.

I think he surprised us with how good he is on defense. I had thought he would be a DH catching occasionally, but his glove was much better than I figured. Add in that pitchers seem to be happy to throw to him, I don’t think we’ll need to think of him as a full-time DH any time soon.

The Jays do have decisions to make at the catcher position. I’d like them to keep Kirk, I think he could be a very good player for the next several years. But then so could Moreno. And Danny Jansen is good too and doesn’t have the trade value of the other two. The front office has some decisions to make.

I’m not a big fan of the hit-and-run, but if I was going to do it, Kirk would be a player I’d have at bat for it (but not on the bases). He seems to be able to make contact when he needs to.

Before the season we asked:

  • How many games would Kirk play, only 7% of us picked over 121 games. Most said between 81-120 games.
  • We asked if his OPS would be over or under .780. He was just over at .786. 81% were right.
  • And we asked where he would get most of his playing time. 86% were right and said the Blue Jays. 4% said Buffalo. 10% said somewhere else (traded).


For his 2022 season, I would grade Alejandro Kirk an

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431 votes total Vote Now