The Blue Jays have enviable depth at the catch position, but Alejandro Kirk can earn some job security these days.
The stocky receiver has been well known for his dangerous batting throughout his short MLB career, and it continues to be an asset to him even though he hasn’t quite started rolling in the box yet. of the batter. For the 2022 campaign, he’s slashing .262/.350/.330, which is pretty solid, but those numbers will be even better once he dials in his power shot as well.
While attacking will likely still be Kirk’s calling card, he’s shown big improvements on the defensive side of the game so far this season. He’s quietly becoming an asset at height framing, and he’s also throwing would-be base robbers a solid clip so far, catching four of the first 10 attempts.
While improving those key defensive numbers is important, his relationship with a budding ace in Alek Manoah may be the most important factor of all.
Kirk was the catcher who worked with the talented second-year starter all season long, whether Danny Jansen was healthy or not. The couple really found a good rhythm and a thriving working relationship early in their young career. Coming off of Saturday’s one-run, eight-inning gem against the Reds, Manoah is now 5-1 with a 1.62 ERA and 0.88 WHIP so far in 2022.
I’m convinced Manoah could learn to work well with just about any decent receiver, and a guy like Danny Jansen is an above average option to have kicks too, but I’m sure the Blue Jays won’t try to fix what isn’t currently broken. This could prove significant in regards to Kirk’s place in Toronto, as the Blue Jays will likely have decisions to make regarding the position in the not-too-distant future.
Right now, they’re very lucky to have a strong MLB duo with Jansen and Kirk, but they also have the luxury of having a top-10 prospect knocking on the big leagues’ door. Gabriel Moreno is currently ranked No. 5 in the game according to MLB.com and No. 5 according to Baseball America (subscription required). So far, Moreno has been as advertised in Triple-A, hitting .323 / .382 / .398 on his first 102 hits, and if he continues like this, he will add a lot of pressure to the Blue Jays front office. as the season progresses.
I admit that over the winter I expected Alejandro Kirk to be a prime trade candidate for the Blue Jays, in part because of Moreno’s presence in the upper minor leagues. Jansen is also a more than capable starter, and at the time they also had Reese McGuire on the roster, who has since been traded to the White Sox in exchange for Zack Collins. I still felt the same way until a few weeks ago, but I’ve slowly but surely changed my mind about Kirk’s ability to stay on as the top receiver. I don’t know what that means for the position going forward in Toronto, but I guess Kirk’s performance this year could change minds and even change plans.
The Mexican-born catcher has steadily improved his defensive game and earned the trust of one of baseball’s most exciting young pitchers. While nothing is guaranteed for a big leaguer, Kirk can earn some pretty significant job security with the Blue Jays these days.