Over the course of Kevin Kiermaier‘s rookie year, we saw the defensive skills that give him a chance to win a Gold Glove someday. Well, “someday” may be sooner than we thought. Kiermaier was named a finalist for the AL Gold Glove in right field, the only Tampa Bay Rays player that was nominated.
It is a little bit of a downer that the Rays have only one Gold Glove finalist this season after their entire infield was acknowledged last year. But instead of dwelling on that, let’s talk about Kiermaier. While his offense surprised us, his defense was just as good as advertised. There were times when he was a touch overaggressive, but he consistently made outstanding plays with both his legs and his arm. MLB.com did a nice compilation of Kiermaier’s best plays.
It remains to be seen how much Kiermaier will hit moving forward, but his defense is incredible and he may even get better as he learns to refine his aggressiveness. People always make the Sam Fuld comparison for Kiermaier’s defense, but Kiermaier’s arm is clearly better and that truly makes him a special defender.
Even though Kevin Kiermaier played in just 68 games in right field in 2014, he is a finalist for this Gold Glove and rightfully so–he had the best UZR and DRS among AL right fielders despite his limited time. Best of luck to Kiermaier, and even if he does not win the Gold Glove this year, he will be a contender for the award for years to come.