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The season that was: Alejandro Kirk

A look at Alejandro’s 2023 season

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

After getting a cup of coffee in the majors in 2020 and 60 games in 2021, Kirk was a full-time major leaguer in 2022.

He had a very good 2022 season, making the All-Star team and winning a Silver Slugger award. And he did well defensively as well.

So we were hoping for more of the same this year. We didn’t get it:

Standard Batting
24 123 422 372 34 93 16 0 8 43 0 0 42 45 .250 .334 .358 .692 93 21 6 2 1
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 11/2/2023.

Baseball Reference has hit at a 1.9 WAR (3.5 last year). FanGraphs 1.6, giving him a value of $13.1 million to the team.

He had a .317 wOBA and a 96 wRC+.

Alejandro’s BABIP was .265 (down from .299 last year).

His walk rate was 10.0% (down from 11.6). The strikeout rate was the same as last year at 10.7%.

Kirk’s line-drive rate increased slightly from last year (19.8% from 19.2). Ground ball rate much the same (50.2% from 50.0). Fly balls rate was much the same too (30.1% from 30.8). Fewer of his fly balls left the park (8.1% from 10.9).

Kirk’s soft contact was up (16.7% from 14.9), and hard contact was down (30.7% from 37.5).

Unlike last year, Kirk was better vs. LHP (.264/.359/.373) than RHP (.244/.323/.351).

And he was much better at home (.285/.348/.441) than on the road (.215/.321/.274). Last year, he was better on the road.

Kirk was much better in the second half (.269/.354/.421) than in the first half (.234/.317/.304).

Kirk by month:

  • April: .274/.418/.387 with 2 home runs, 15 walks, 12 strikeouts in 21 games.
  • May: .236/.286/.278 with 0 home runs, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts in 23 games.
  • June: .245/.289/.327 with 1 home run, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts in 17 games.
  • July: .278/.350/.463 with 3 home runs, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts in 18 games.
  • August: .246/.302/.333 with 0 home runs, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts in 17 games.
  • September: .231/.341/.372 with 2 home runs, 13 walks, 11 strikeouts in 27 games.

April and July were very good.

It hit just .208/.299/.317 with RISP. Last year was very good with RISP.


He caught 99 games and DHed in 17 games.

Alejandro had 6 errors on the season, 4 throwing, and 1 fielding (and one more of an unknown type) for a .993 FA (the league average for catchers was .992).

There was 1 passed ball and 18 wild pitches (no AL catcher with 750 or more innings caught had fewer WP; the next best had 25 in about the same number of innings) with him behind the plate. We used to hear a lot about how you couldn’t block pitches when you set up on one knee, but Kirk does it fine.

He threw out 18% of base stealers (the league average was 21%).

FanGraphs had him at a +9.6 in framing, which put him at the top of the AL.

Baseball Savant has +5 in framing, making him the 4th best framer in the MLB. As you know he he’s best at the bottom of the plate and on the inside. Baseball Savant also has him 14 ‘Blocks Above Average’, which puts him at the top of the AL.

Facebook has him as the 5th best in the AL in Defense Fielding and Positional Adjustment for all positions with a 14.4, which is also the top number among catchers.

As a baserunner, Kirk was a -10.3, and yes, that is the worst number among AL batters with over 400 PA.

Where he hit in the order:

  • 5th: 19 games.
  • 6th: 33 games.
  • 7th: 23 games.
  • 8th: 6 games.

The team was 54-45, with Kirk catching.

His longest hitting streak was 5 games. Longest on base streak was 12 games. The longest he went without a home run was 34 games.

Favourite team to face? He hit .563/.588/.750 with a home run in 5 games against the Mariners.

Least Favourite? He hit .077/.077/.077 in 4 games against the Phillies.

With Kirk, we thought we were getting a bat-first catcher. As it has turned out, this season anyway, he was a glove-first catcher. I thought he would end up being a DH who caught on occasion.

I’m not big on fat shaming. People focus on what Kirk can’t do (run fast) and ignore all the stuff he does well. But then I watched baseball for a long time, and I saw players who didn’t look like athletes many times and didn’t run well, but their teams understood that they did other things well.

He is one of the few Jays that hit better at home than on the road.

I don’t know how much it means, but Jays pitchers did quite a bit better throwing to Kirk (3.40 ERA, .225/.315/.426) than throwing to Jansen (4.03, .225/.299/.373). Last year’s numbers were similar. Kirk (3.44, .233/.295/.370) and Jansen (3.74, 250/.305/.407). Two seasons make it look like it might not be a sample-size thing.

Before the season, we asked:

  • If the over/under on Kirk’s games played is 116, I’d take the. 54% were right picking over.
  • If the over/under on Kirk’s home runs is 18. 51% were right, taking the under.
  • Which Catcher will have the better bWAR? 58% were right picking Kirk.


For his 2023 season, I would grade Alejandro Kirk an

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375 votes total Vote Now