Kevin Kiermaier’s New Clothes | The Process Report

Kevin Kiermaier’s New Clothes

Industrialist Henry J. Kaiser is credited as the creator of the saying “problems are only opportunities in work clothes.” The phrase applies to something more important than baseball, but it does sound like something Joe Maddon would say.

Problems have been plentiful for the team with the worst record in the American League. Aside from underperformance, the club has struggled to simply keep some of its most important talent on the field as well. Over the weekend Wil Myers suffered a fractured wrist on a game-ending play in Boston. The collision with Desmond Jennings not only cost Tampa Bay the game, but at least six weeks of the young star outfielder’s season.

Wil Myers’ wrist is a problem in work clothes – or, at least, a cast –  that presents Kevin Kiermaier with opportunity.

Selected in the 31st round of the 2010 draft, Kiermaier stands as a beam of light from a farm system that has failed to produce many supernovas in recent seasons. The Parkland College product made his way on to the prospect scene largely in part to above-average defensive ability and speed along the basepaths. His quick, compact swing is also useful but running and defense have been his calling card and will likely to continue to be.

In short bursts, Kiermaier has already displayed said abilities. His leaping catch and laser throwing arm were highlights of the club’s recent West Coast trip. Though he has yet to swipe a big-league bag in 10 games, he already has a triple and an inside-the-park home run to his credit, showing off his chrome wheels. With Myers – along with substitute outfielder Brandon Guyer – on the shelf, he will likely get an extended look as part of a right-field platoon with Ben Zobrist.

Despite his experience as a major-league hitter being comprised of just 23 at-bats, it is clear Kiermaier has an affinity for swinging the bat. In the zone or out, hard or soft, the 24-year-old will go after pitches of all types and locations. Offerings with velocity and that have little horizontal movement have not been a problem thus far. Meanwhile, ones with some tilt have given him issues. He has taken nine swings versus curveball and sliders and came up empty seven times. Pitchers in the minors have good breaking balls too; however, ones in the majors have a better idea of when to use them and more of a feel for where they go. Adjusting to these pitches will be a key element to how long and how successful his audition will be.

As it stands, the next few months should be filled with problems dressed in their Sunday’s best. While that may seem like a downer to fans who have been spoiled by competitive summers, it will give players like Kevin Kiermaier a chance to try on new linen and see if the opportunity wrapped in a major-league uniform fits.

One Comment

  1. […] The Process Report has a great article up about Kevin Kiermaier and his opportunity with the Rays. […]

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