From Tijuana to the Big Stage
With the MLB's ninety-second All-Star game lined up for tomorrow, we decided to take a look at the improbable journey for the American League's starting Catcher, Alejandro Kirk. Hailing from Tijuana, Mexico, the twenty-three year old Kirk has quickly captured a large fan base, and is one of the fan favorites in the league today.
Every professional sport has its stars. In football you hear names like Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and DeAndre Hopkins on such a regular basis that even someone who’s unfamiliar with the sport knows who they are. Regardless of the sport being discussed, most star players were expected to reach the skill level they find themselves at currently since before their professional careers began. Nowadays, we even see basketball players who haven’t seen a college minute being signed to multi-million dollar deals. Teams obviously invest in these kinds of players because of their projectability, usually relating to their size or raw athletic ability. However, there are always a select few diamonds in the rough that nobody expects to be great. In baseball, one may think of stars like Mike Trout, Ronald Acuna Jr., or Juan Soto, and rightfully so, but this year the MLB All-Star game sees an unfamiliar face starting behind the plate for the American League. I’m talking about the fan-favorite Alejandro Kirk of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Standing at a below-average 5’8 and weighing in at an above-average 245 pounds, Kirk has become a popular name among the Blue Jays faithful since last season. His short, stocky frame makes him the subject of jokes on social media, but his unexpected breakout this year has made him more than just a meme. With a .312 batting average, 10 home runs, and an OPS+ of 148, Kirk has shown the baseball world that you don’t need to be a freak of nature to succeed at the highest level. Undrafted out of Tijuana, Mexico, Kirk was picked up by a Blue Jays scout who believed him to possess the unrecognized talent of a slow heartbeat at a young age, meaning he was able to keep his composure throughout a game. At just 17 years old, Kirk was able to remain even-keeled throughout the highs and lows of a game, which is a very important trait of a catcher. Combined with his unexpected ability to hit, Kirk became a favorite of the Blue Jays’ recruitment staff, leading to his signing. From an unrecognized talent to an American League All-Star at just twenty-three years old, Alejandro Kirk is at a point in his career where he could become one of the most interesting and inspiring stories in the history of Major League Baseball.