There’s an ‘outlaw’ in the Tampa Bay Rays outfield and he doesn’t ride a black horse or wear a black hat. Is he a new masked man out to avenge a previous slight or wrongdoing? No, because a mask would not be able to hide the identity of the piercing eyes that have captured the attention of female Rays fans and driven them to an admiring frenzy. A blindfold might not cover the penetrating effect of those twin beacons! The “Outlaw” officially resides in the Tampa Bay Rays clubhouse and is, in actual name, none other than rookie outfielder Kevin Kiermaier. Nicknames are abound in Major League Baseball and I doubt that membership in the MLBPA is possible without one.
Kiermaier became “The Outlaw” at the suggestion of an unidentified player in the minor leagues when attempting to describe Kiermaier’s style of wall crashing outfield play. The rookie liked it and now the moniker is his. Thus far in the season, “The Outlaw’” is displaying a maturity beyond his 24 years and lets his style of play speak for itself while showcasing his obvious humility. Because of his all-out style and plus speed to go along with a plus arm, Kiermaier is one of the best defensive outfielders in all of baseball. But that isn’t all he offers.
He is a bandit of the Robin Hood mold, snatching hits from opposing hitters and then giving pitchers his special style of grief when standing in the batter’s box. His play recently sparkled on the just completed road trip, most notably in the July 5th game versus Rick Porcello and the Detroit Tigers where he went 3 for 4 at the plate with two consecutive triples and 3 RBIs. The best part about it- those triples were not easy, rather they were a product of his all-out hustle, and they would not have been triples for most players. In the more recent game versus the Kansas City Royals on July 9th, “The Outlaw” showcased more power by going 4 for 4 in addition to becoming the first Rays rookie to have four hits with a grand-slam in the same game. If Kevin Kiermaier can maintain his .278/.314/.542 lien in the second half of this season, he is a legitimate AL Rookie Of The Year candidate.
This rookie is known to jump on any opportunity given him and dominate it. Drafted in the 31st round of the 2010 amateur draft, he is the fourth lowest Tampa Bay Ray draft pick to make the big leagues and has taken the advice “Don’t let the game change you; change the game!” literally saying, “My main thing this year is that I don’t want to look like a rookie.” It’s quite obvious that, as far as the Tampa Bay Rays are concerned, this “Outlaw” is wanted!