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Rising Star

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Major League Baseball doesn’t often turn its attention to the WPIAL. They have this year, however, to watch the talent of one Alex Kirilloff.

Kirilloff is graduating from Plum High School this spring, and while the 6-foot-2 former PA Cyber student has committed to Liberty University, he will surely find his name being announced at this week's Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.

In a recent big board, Baseball America ranked Kirilloff the 27th-best prospect in the United State, which included college players. Kirilloff also made Baseball America’s pre-season high school baseball All-American team; a list that only included 13 players.

If Kirilloff is selected in the first round, he would be the first WPIAL taken that high since Pine-Richland’s Neil Walker was chosen by the Pirates.

Kirilloff moved from first base to centerfield this season, and has continued to demonstrate power and a strong ability to consistently reach base.

Claudio Reilsono of the Global Scouting Bureau—and also the Carnegie Mellon University head baseball coach—said Kirilloff has a strong desire to improve his game.

“I remember seeing him as a little boy at the Baseball Training Academy, then seeing him practice at some different fields hitting buckets of balls,” Reilsono said. “It goes to show you what hard work can do for you in anything in in life.”

Last August, Kirilloff won the home run derby at the Perfect Game American Classic in San Diego; an all-star event with top high school players in the country. He slammed 12 home runs in only three minutes.

“The thing I want to say is not only is Alex a special talent, but a special kid,” Plum head coach Carl Vollmer said to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It’s really hard to put into words the positive impact he has on our team, just as a person and a teammate.”

Reilsono does not foresee Kirilloff’s commitment to Liberty hurting his draft stock.

“I guess it’s more of a risk on the scout’s end,” Reilsono said. “Personally, if I like a player, I would take the risk. As long as the competition is good, and the player dominating or doing very well, I take the shot.”

Reilsono believes Kirilloff can continue to improve his offensive game.

“It’s one thing to hit on the high school level, it’s another ball game in college and for sure on the pro level,” Reilsono said. “Hits that are home runs in high school are fly outs on the next level.”

The number of scouts attending Plum’s games this season to forced Vollmer moved the start time of a half hour back to give Kirilloff more time at the batting cage.

“We’ve had scouts come in here and amazingly just watch him jump rope, work out or see how he interacts with other players,” Vollmer said.

Plum High School Alex KirillofAccording to Reilsono, there is still a strong chance Kirilloff will go pro despite his current college plans.

“If he and his family feel that the spot he gets drafted in is fair, and the money is good, I would guess they I would take it,” Reilsono said.  “If not they have the option to go to Liberty. A good situation to be in.”

Last year at Plum, Kirilloff posted a .562 on-base percentage, hit six homers, and scored 24 runs.  He also recorded a 1.90 ERA in 33 innings.

“Obviously this is something he has always wanted,” Reilsono said. “There is nothing better than having a dream since you were a kid and having a shot to make it happen.”

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