Laurila: Kevin Kiermaier on his career path with the bat

From SABR member David Laurila at FanGraphs on April 27, 2018:

Kevin Kiermaier has come a long way since I first talked to him in the spring of 2014. At the time, his big-league experience consisted of two games — two very important games — as a defensive replacement with the Tampa Bay Rays. Already considered elite with the glove, he was seen as the club’s centerfielder of the future — assuming he could hold his own with the bat.

A little over a year later, in May 2015, I followed up with the uber-athletic former 31st-round draft pick. As he was coming off a rookie season where he’d slashed a better-than-many-expected .263/.315/.450, the resulting Q&A was titled “Kevin Kiermaier on Turning a Corner”.

The years that have followed have been a combination of prosperous and unkind. The now-28-year-old Kiermaier accumulated 11.3 WAR between 2015-2017, in large part because his defense has been nothing short of exemplary. Despite multiple trips to the disabled list, he led MLB with 89 Defensive Runs Saved over that three-year stretch. At the plate, he slashed a credible .262/.320/.426, with a dozen home runs annually.

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Originally published: April 27, 2018. Last Updated: April 27, 2018.