Isiah Kiner-Falefa Any Good?

Isiah Kiner-Falefa is a professional baseball player currently playing for the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball. He is a switch-hitting shortstop and third baseman who also has the ability to play catcher. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB draft by the Rangers and has been a regular in the Rangers lineup since the 2018 season. So, is Isiah Kiner-Falefa any good? Let’s take a look at his stats and find out.

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Background

Kiner-Falefa was born on February 2, 1995 in Kailua, Hawaii to parents Kirsten and David Kiner-Falefa. He attended Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu, where he played baseball, basketball, and football. He was considered a two-way player in baseball and was rated as one of the top high school prospects in the state of Hawaii. He ended up being drafted by the Texas Rangers in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB draft.

Minor League Career

Kiner-Falefa began his professional career in 2014 with the Spokane Indians of the Northwest League. He ended up playing a total of five seasons in the minors, before being called up to the major leagues in 2018. During his time in the minors, he played a variety of positions including shortstop, third base, catcher, and second base. He showed good plate discipline, hitting for average and getting on base at a high rate. He also flashed some power, hitting a career-high 10 home runs in 2017.

MLB Debut

Kiner-Falefa was called up to the majors in 2018 and made his debut on April 21, 2018 against the Tampa Bay Rays. He made an immediate impact, reaching base in each of his first four plate appearances. He ended up hitting .235 with an .694 OPS in his rookie season and played a variety of positions including shortstop, third base, catcher, and second base. He was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal season for the Rangers.

2019 Breakout

Kiner-Falefa had a breakout season in 2019, setting career-highs in batting average (.298), OPS (.758), home runs (10), and RBIs (49). He also continued to be a defensive asset, playing a variety of positions and showcasing his ability to make plays in the field. He was one of the Rangers’ best players and was rewarded with an All-Star selection in 2019.

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2020 Struggles

Kiner-Falefa had a rough 2020 season, hitting just .214 with a .610 OPS. He also struggled defensively, committing nine errors in the shortened season. The Rangers also had a rough season, finishing with one of the worst records in the league.

Defensive Versatility

Kiner-Falefa is known for his defensive versatility, being able to play a variety of positions. He has experience playing shortstop, third base, catcher, and second base. He also has the ability to play the outfield, but has yet to do so in the majors. His ability to play multiple positions gives him a lot of value to the Rangers and allows them to move him around the diamond depending on the situation.

Plate Discipline

Kiner-Falefa is also known for his plate discipline, as he has a good eye at the plate. He has a career walk rate of 8.3%, which is above the league average. He also has a career strikeout rate of 14.2%, which is also above the league average. His ability to draw walks and not strike out too often is a big plus for the Rangers.

Power

Kiner-Falefa has flashed some power over the past few seasons, hitting a career-high 10 home runs in 2019. He is not a big power hitter, but he does have the ability to hit the ball out of the park when he makes contact. He has a career .395 slugging percentage, which is above the league average.

Conclusion

So, is Isiah Kiner-Falefa any good? The answer is yes. He is a versatile defender who can play multiple positions and has the ability to draw walks and hit for a decent average. He also has some power, although he is not a big home run hitter. He is a valuable player for the Rangers and an underrated asset in the majors.