Kevin Kiermaier is a confident dude. Winning back to back Gold Gloves in just your third season in Major League Baseball will do that to you. On Tuesday night, the 26-year old centerfielder did just that beating out Red Sox Jackie Bradley Jr and Blue Jays Kevin Pillar for the award.
“The Outlaw” as he’s been aptly named, also saw an uptick in his offensive numbers in 2016, especially in the second half of the season when he settled in nicely behind Logan Forsythe in the two-hole of the every day lineup. But winning his second piece of defensive hardware puts him in elite company alongside teammate Evan Longoria as just the second player in Rays (or Devil Rays) history to not only win two Gold Gloves but win them in consecutive years. Longoria accomplished it back in 2009 and 2010.
“The scary thing is – he keeps finding ways to get better,” Kevin Cash said of his centerfielder.
With 75 percent of what goes into voting for Gold Glove winners coming from coaches and managers who aren’t allowed to vote for players nominated on their own team – the award means that much more.
“The coaches and managers throughout the game, along with the other 25 percent of the SABRmetrics data backed me up enough to win this for a second year in a row,” Kiermaier said. He also went on to say that he was hoping the games he missed because of injury would not come back to hurt his chances of winning.
He’s just that good.
“I know I’m the best centerfielder in the game,” Kiermaier said. “And I don’t even think it’s close, to be honest.”
Pretty hard to argue that, Kevin.
So we won’t.
We’re just glad you roam centerfield for the good guys.
Information and quotes in this article are per raysbaseball.com and Bill Chastain.