By Mark Simon
By now you know just how good Kevin Kiermaier of the Rays is in center field. He frequently amazes with great plays, chasing down fly balls all around the major leagues. The biggest issue with his game is in how often he’s been on the field, as he’s frequently dealt with injuries.
But this season, Kiermaier has been healthy enough to save 11 runs, which ranks second among players at his position. With that, he’s moved into the top 10 in overall Defensive Runs Saved since the stat began being tracked in 2003.
Kiermaier has more than 3,000 fewer innings played than anyone else in the top 10. If you prorate Kiermaier’s numbers, he’s averaging nearly 26 Runs Saved per 1,000 innings. Next-best among anyone on this list is Angels’ shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who is averaging 22 Runs Saved per 1,000.
A check of Kiermaier’s player page at the relaunched FieldingBible.com shows that he is going for his fifth straight season finishing among the top center fielders in Defensive Runs Saved. You can see that a large part of Kiermaier’s value comes in tracking down fly balls hit to the deepest parts of the outfield.
Kiermaier made 53 more plays than the average center fielder would have made against the deep balls Kiermaier saw from 2015 to 2018, including three straight seasons of at least 10 plays saved. Additionally, you can see that Kiermaier gets supplemental value from both his arm (Throws) and Good Fielding Plays (GFP/DME) such as robbing home runs or cutting balls off in the gap to prevent advancement. You can also see Kiermaier’s season totals (Total) and rank, which show how he’s been consistently great even when he’s missed considerable time.
Kiermaier isn’t the only active player to move into the top 10. Another center fielder, Lorenzo Cain, has saved 13 runs, the most at the position this season. He’s now in 10th place, just behind Kiermaier.
|1. Adrian Beltre||222||18,354|
|2. Andrelton Simmons||188||8,383|
|3. Yadier Molina||167||15,919|
|4. Jason Heyward||145||10,735|
|5. Chase Utley||141||15,260|
|6. Albert Pujols||136||16,146|
|T7. Mark Ellis||131||10,956|
|T7. Brett Gardner||131||11,282|
|9. Kevin Kiermaier||128||4,964|
|10. Lorenzo Cain||125||8,009|
SIS has relaunched FieldingBible.com to be your source for defensive metrics and information. The site features daily updates of player stats and provides background on how our stats are collected and calculated.