Kirk signed from Mexico in 2016 just before his 18th birthday. A hand injury cost him almost all of the 2017 season, but he broke out last summer in the Appy League to the tune of a .319/.418/.447 slash line. After a very strong start to the year in full-season ball this season, Toronto moved the 20-year-old aggressively to the Florida State League. I saw him for three games with Dunedin, where Kirk has been holding his own in the pitcher-friendly circuit since his May promotion.
Listed at 5-foot-9 and 220 pounds, he’s significantly heavier than that and will need to get in better shape before reaching the big leagues. Kirk has tools on both sides of the ball but is hindered by his current physique, struggling to get low in the squat at catcher and keeping his hands inside at the plate. Natural feel to hit is his best attribute, with a mature sense of the zone and advanced contact skills. His bat isn’t the fastest, but it’s a loose stroke that keeps the barrel in the zone a long time and squares up an above-average rate of line drives. Despite his shorter stature, Kirk’s strength and quality of contact project for some game power if he can start to lift the ball more. Defensively, his hands receive fairly well at catcher, showing surprising blocking ability and lateral quickness given his hefty frame. Kirk throws well—drawing average to solid-average grades from scouts—so his ability to stick at the position will come down to simply getting in better shape and setting quieter targets.
Despite falling into the “bad body” category, it’s hard to write off Kirk as a prospect given his hitting ability and chance to stick at a premium position. The Blue Jays are high on his instincts and polish, things he has continued to show by consistently performing against older competition throughout the low minors. The ingredients are here to develop into a low-end regular or solid role player/spot-starter if Kirk gets his body in check and keeps developing defensively. His bat at catcher is interesting, though he’ll lose significant value if he moves off the position and down the defensive spectrum to 1B.