Kiermaier will never be a power hitter but did show improved gap power in the Arizona Fall League. (Credit: Flickr user chrishwish)

The Undercards: Kevin Kiermaier Has Big Day in Phoenix Loss

Stats for just a few games to begin the season don’t mean too much. But it’s always better to start off strong than otherwise. Unfortunately some of the Rays’ top prospects in the Arizona Fall League have started slowly. But Kevin Kiermaier has hit the ground running and the Rays hope it’s the start of a great fall for him.

Mesa Solar Sox 8, Phoenix Desert Dogs 3

The Phoenix at one point led this game 3-2. A couple bullpen collapses later and the game had gotten away. The Astros’ Jonathan Singleton gave Mesa a 2-0 lead after one with a 2-run homer off of Brewers prospect Nick Bucci but then fellow Brewer Brock Kjeldgaard absolutely went off, slamming a 2-run homer and a solo shot to make it 3-2 Phoenix. But yet another Brewers prospect, Santo Manzanillo, had a nightmare outing, allowing 4 runs in just 0.2 innings as the game quickly became out of the Desert Dogs’ reach. Chris Rearick tossed a scoreless inning for the Rays, but he allowed 3 straight walks after retiring the first 3 batters he faced, 2 via the strikeout. Hopefully the lefty Rearick can show a little more consistency. The Rays had three prospects in the Phoenix lineup, and the headliners, the double play combo of Hak-Ju Lee and Tim Beckham, went just 0 for 9 with a sac bunt. But the third, Kevin Kiermaier, had a huge game. Kiermaier, bizarrely the DH in the game despite being known primarily as a defensive outfielder, went 3 for 4 with a double and a stolen base and  is now 5 for his first 11 in the AFL with 3 doubles and 4 stolen bases. Hopefully he can continue playing well and the rest of the Rays’ AFL crop can start catching up.

Tags: Arizona Fall League Kevin Kiermaier Tampa Bay Rays

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