Tampa Bay Rays: Kiermaier Wins Consecutive Gold Glove Award

Defense is his game and the pride taken is evident as Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier wins his second Rawlings Gold Glove Award.

American League managers and coaches along with a collaboration of SABRmetics (Society for American Baseball Research) have spoken and for the second consecutive year, Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier has taken home the Rawlings Gold Glove Award as the top center fielder in the American League.

Kevin Pillar of the Toronto Blue Jays and Jackie Bradley Jr. were the other center fielders that were also nominated for the Gold Glove.

There were questions as to whether or not Kiermaier would win the award because he was limited to just 105 games due to injuries, specifically the 48 to a broken hand. However, upon his return after the All-Star Game he did not miss a step.

The second half of the season saw Kiermaier record seven outfield assists, which tied him with Jake Marisnick of the Astros for most among all American League center fielders.

Additionally, his 175 putouts ranked him second to Leonys Martin of Seattle who had 192.

Overall on the season, Kiermaier led the American League with a 3.0 WAR for the second consecutive year and according to FanGraphs.

His 25 defensive runs saved led all Major League centerfielders and as well he ranked second among all players behind Mookie Betts (32 DRS) who took home the Gold Glove as the top rightfielder. Betts also played in 158 games.

In taking home the Gold Glove, Kiermaier saved his 35 runs in just 872-1/3 innings, while Betts saved his 32 in 1,381 innings. Pillar, who finished in the top five among AL leaders had 21 in 1,293 innings.

The award is a testament to Kiermaier’s pride that he takes in his defense and how much of an impact he is to the Rays. While on the disabled list, the Rays were 14-34

“KK continues to be the best defensive player in the game,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Watching him defend his position every night is a privilege for all of us. And the scary thing is, he keeps finding ways to get better.”

Since the Gold Gloves were first awarded in 1957, Kiermaier is the first American League center fielder to earn the honors in his of his first two full seasons in the majors. Ichiro Suzuki is the only other American League outfielder to earn the award (2001-2002) with the Seattle Mariners.

Kiermaier joins third baseman Evan Longoria (’09, ’10) as the only Rays to win multiple Gold Glove Awards.

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Pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (’12), left fielder Carl Crawford (’10) and first baseman Carlos Pena (’08) have also won Gold Glove Awards in franchise history.

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